First day of protest at Rafah Gate – update

June 10, 2009

The following an update from the Rafah border, (from the International Movement to Open the Rafah Border) copy follows:

Dear ones,

6/9 I am writing at the end of our first day of protest at the Rafah, Egypt border with Gaza. With assistance from our friends here, we departed our house at 7 a.m. taking a route which avoided every checkpoint between al Arish and the border (about 25 miles), arriving at the border before _ and catching all the authorities off guard.

We subsequently lived our first day supporting the myriad Palestinians who so desperately wanted to enter Gaza. There was Sami, a young pharmacist who éé days ago accompanied his sister-in-law into Egypt. He has come to the border for the past 21 days at the border, trying but unable to cross,A mother and her three daughters who are now Swedish citizens, waited patiently, but in the end were, as we all, turned away. Everyone was called at about 1:30 p.m. to turn in our passports. This was something new and hopes were raised that we would be allowed to enter Gaza.

 Earlier in the day we encountered a Palestinian American family who live near Dallas Texas. The couple went to the University in Texas, deciding to settle in the U.S. years ago in part because of the violence escellating in Gaza at the time. This family of parents, and four children have generations of history in Gaza. They were prompted, the father explained to me, to return this summer at considerable expense because 2 young nephews had been accidently killed during the recent war. He went on to say that this trip was to visit family whom they deeply love and want to see before more violence takes more lives.

At about 3 p.m. we were called back to the border where rather than being allowed to cross, we were told, “No one will cross today, come back tomorrow.” Everyone was shocked, Dismay gave way to the palpable pain in the faces of the Palestinians. I looked for the family from Texas. The father had taken a taxi to pick up the family’s belongings encouraged by the taking of the passports. He had rushed hoping to get back before his family crossed the border. After calling to tell him of the changes his wife in tears said to me, “This is so humiliating.” It has gotten very late. We returned to al Arish committed to return to continue our work, to support, to witness, to speak out for justice.

 My quote for the day, ” We are here to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.” love to each and all, Paki

Copy Ends

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