"I don’t want your food. I don’t want to rest. I don’t want your sympathy. I JUST WANT TO GO HOME. To my country. To my parents. IS THAT TOO HARD TO UNDERSTAND?" I screamed, breaking my level-headed calm of the past 20 hours.
"Please don’t yell, just calm down, calm down, everyone outside will think I am treating you badly, c’mon, and besides its ‘ayb (disgraceful) not to accept the apple from me".
"‘Ayb?? What’s ‘AYB is you denying my entry to my own home! And why should I be calm? This situation doesn’t call for calm; it makes no sense and neither should I!"
A distraught Noor furrowed her brows and then comforted me the only way she knew how: by patting me on the back with her little hands and giving me a hug. Yousuf began to cry.
"C’mon lady don’t have a breakdown in front of your kids please. You know I have a kid your son’s age and its breaking my heart to do this, to see him in these conditions, to put him in the conditions, so please take the plane."
"So don’t see me in these conditions! There’s a simple solution you know. LET ME GO HOME. Its not asking a lot is it?"
"Hey now look lady" he said, stiffening suddenly into bad cop, his helpless grimace disappeared.
"Rules are rules, you need a visa to get in here like any other country, can you go to Jordan without a visa?’
"Don’t play the rules game with me. I HAD APPROVAL FROM YOUR EMBASSY, FROM YOUR CONSUL GENERAL, to cross into Egypt and go to Gaza; and besides how else am I supposed to get into Gaza???" I shouted, frantically waving the stamped and signed document in front of him as though it were a magic wand.
"So sue him. Amn il Dawla supercedes the foreign ministry’s orders, he must have outdated protocol."
"The letter was dated April 6, that is 2 days ago, how outdated could it be?? Look- if I could parachute into Gaza I would, trust me. With all do respect to your country, I’m not here to sight-see. Do you have a parachute for me? If I could sail there I would do that too, but last I check Israel was ramming and turning those boats back. Do you have another suggestions?
"What is it you want lady- do you want to just live in the airport? is that it? Because we have no problems letting you live here, really. We can set up a shelter for you. And no one will ever ask about you or know you exist. In any case you don’t have permanent residency abroad so our government policies say we can’t let a Palestinian who does not have permanent residency abroad"
"I have a US Visa- its expired but my extension of status document is valid until the end of June. and besides- what kind of illogical law is that? you aren’t allowing me back home if I don’t have permanent residency abroad?"
"I don’t read English please translate.."
"You see it says here that my status is valid until June 30, 2009"
"Good, so then we CAN deport you back to the US" he said, picking up the phone and giving a quick order for the Palestinian convoy of injured Palestinians heading to the Crossing to go on without me, my only hope of returning home dissipating before my eyes at the hands of a barely literate manipulative enforcer.
"You just said if i have permanent residency abroad I can go home, now you say I can’t, which is it??"
"I’m sorry you are refusing to go on the plane. Take her away please."
Et le représentant de l’autorité palestinienne de Vidkun QuislingMahmoud Abbas ne vaut guère mieux que les gardes-frontières:
First, a gentleman from the Palestinian representative’s office that someone else whose name I was meant to recognize sent. " It’ll all be resolved within the hour" he promised confidently, before going on to tell me about his son who worked with Motorola in Florida;
"Helping Israeli drones do their job?"
"That’s right!" he beamed.
Plus méprisable que le bourreau il y a ses valets.
ADDENDUM: La présentation de Laïla El Haddad par elle-même vaut le détour:
I am a Palestinian from Gaza. I am a journalist. I am a mother. I am a Muslim. This blog is about the trials of raising my children between spaces and identities; displacement and occupation; and everything that entails from potty training to border crossings. My husband is a Palestinian refugee denied his right of return to Palestine, and thus OUR right to family life. Together, we endure a lot, and the personal becomes political. This is our story.