Mohammed wakes me up at six, and I go to the bus with a disconcerting feeling of insecurity. Will I get into Gaza? Will I be searched? Questioned? Will I get stuck in Gaza? Hit by an Israeli bomb or bullet? I cannot risk too much since the success of my journey is strictly dependent on my surviving it – I want to make it to that tv show where I can tell other potential travelers about this.
Thus pondering the bus crosses the Sinai once again and takes me to Ariche, where I convince wondering taxi drivers that I really want to go to Rafah, and on to the border crossing with the Gaza strip.
So I arrive at the gate and a tactless officer eloquently elaborates the state of this border crossing: “closet closet”. Of course, what did I expect? Do I want to be persistent and wait a few days here, possibly without result, or to I chose getting back to Cairo and take on my causes there? I decide to do the latter, and turn my back on the border guards. I meet a young family from the US, that want to enter the Gaza strip for a family visit. It has been seven years since I saw them the last time, the father tells me. His father died in that period and he couldn’t go to the funeral. Now they have paid a lot of money and made an arrangement. I ask them to take pictures for Charity Travel and give them my card so they can send them to me by email. That way, I might be able to publish some footage from Gaza on my website. I take a photograph of a traditional Palestinian couple waiting at the gate, walk to the gate myself and put my hand on it, just like I had done at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. “I am sorry” I say, “but I will be back. I will not forget the people of Gaza and will do what lies within my power to support you.” I feel very sincere and all ritualizing my failed attempt to enter Gaza.
I am shocked by the inhumane situation here. When I think about the January 2009 war, the bulldozers, the settlements, the restrictions, the torture, the human tragedy, all inflicted on harmless Palestinian people who just want to live, I feel tempted to say something I perhaps should not say. “Who are those pigs that cause all this suffering?”
On the way back the taxi driver [on-site ad: buy a taxi-driver DVD now starring Robert the Niro] offers me a cigarette and I accept, I reckon its lethality is nowhere near that of Israeli shrapnel or teargas grenades. I feel gooood even though I didn’t complete my mission in Gaza. I hope other travelers will be bolder and braver and venture into the strip, opening it to the world community whose task it is to pour critique into the holy land stronger than the Israeli lead [disambiguate ‘lead’].
Back in Cairo I dream of that young woman from Gaza who had to pay 1000$ to crawl to Egypt through the dangerous tunnel in order to buy her wedding dress. She had to pay another 1000$ to get back to the Gaza strip to make it to her wedding. What is the name of the motherfucker leading this abhorrently inhumane nation again?