Saturday, May 30, 2009

Last day in Gaza...

Tonight is my last night in Gaza. Tomorrow, we meet the fishermen (whose boats are targeted by Israeli pirates- official government pirates of course, but still pirates, as one member of our delegation pointed out), then meet with anLother NGO, then head towards the Rafah crossing and back to Cairo.
I am not ready to leave. It's not that I want to stay. "Want" is not the right word. I don't know the right words. One woman said, "Sometimes I think that words are not made for what we go through." Maybe that is why I don't know the right ones. How can I write when my notes are disjointed, one thought after another, hopeless/hopeful, emotional/detached, metaphor mixes with reality until the line would almost certainly be blurred for anyone that hasn't seen and/or doesn't know the extent, the truth, the reality of the horrors that have happened here.
But perhaps the blur exists because reality is blurred as well. People's eyes glisten with leftover tears when they smile and tell the story of their struggle with pride. The light of creativity shines through the cracks of the destruction, but no amount of creativity can rebuild a house in a sustainable way when the siege prohibits construction materials- even though that creativity CAN make a mercedes run on batteries (which apparently it has).
And yet people survive. Continue to struggle. Continue to live.
I am fairly certain I had a very similar sentence in my blog when I was in the West Bank. I am impressed. I don't know if I could do it. I think I would break.
One woman said "All people are brave here," when someone complimented her personal bravery. She is right. I know that the answer to "how?" is "They have no choice." And I know. But when I ask "how?" I don't expect an answer. The answer isn't the point, it's the question that matters. The validation of the struggle and the strength. The recognition that while we might explain things to ourselves, and listen to story after story of terror, we will never truly understand how they feel or how they keep going despite all this...not just living, but resisting as well, although of course, "to exist is to resist," so I suppose it's all the same.
I will write more later. I will write about the fields that "bloomed" with the rubble of houses - of homes. I will write about the farmers who cannot farm without being shot because of the "buffer zone" that, of course, the Israelis put on the Palestinian side of Gaza, which is already so condensed, so overpopulated, and where some of the most fertile land is right on the border. I will write about the fishermen who cannot fish because the gunboats shoot. The families who lost their homes - and there are so many. Those who lost a member of their family. The marks white phosphorous left behind on the walls of peoples' homes- and on peoples' bodies. And I will write about how people organize here, provide services to their community, some people who return, despite the fact that they got out, because they do not want to abandon their home or their community. I will write about all this and more - just not yet. I'm not ready to elaborate. All I have are notes, thoughts, feelings, and, like so many people who have lived this or just witnessed it, leftover tears. Perhaps with those tears, the words will come. Later.

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