Natalie’s testimony from the Gates of Hell (Rafah) – What the Egyptian Regime did to the Palestinians

July 2, 2009

Photo and testimony - by Natalie Abou Shakra, 21 years of age. ISM Gaza. 2nd. June, 2009

Testimony - by Natalie Abou Shakra, 21 years of age. ISM Gaza. 2nd. June, 2009. Photo by Nada Kassas. Egyptian Journalist

 I received this testimony by Natalie Abou Shakra of ISM Gaza and nine photographs by Nada Kassas Egyptian Journalist and Activist – via the International Movement to Open the Rafah Border today (IMORB):

“The Gates to Hell, what Egyptian regime did to the Palestinians”.  Find Natalie’s blog at this link:

 “From the experience at Rafah crossing, Egyptian side… I have been on the crossing for two days with the Egyptian authorities refusing me entry to go back to Lebanon.

 I was asked many times “what were you doing for seven months in Palestine”… “what you didn’t do,” I answered the mukhabarat [intelligence] officer who has a wicked smirk on his face. “How did you come to Gaza?” asked another, “by the boats.” “So, now you know why you… can’t leave” he answered back. 

They punish Palestinians, & all who break the siege & stand by Palestinians. Now, I am Palestinian… I am a refugee, I am a prisoner, I am living the massacres, the racism i am living the resistance & endurance to all kinds of torture techniques I am still in Gaza, & things might get worse with the Egyptian mukhabarat & regime denying me entry.This stops being complicity with the Zionist entity, but rather direct participation in crimes against humanity of which the Egyptian regime and authorities are practicing against the Palestinians. 

So, literally, it is an honour to have shared the suffering with the Palestinians on the crossing. Despite the suffering, amidst the suffering, friendship, brotherhood, sisterhood, laughs and jokes were present… 

Tears of the women, those who were begging the monsters, and the torture, is something that must be said, whatever the price is… & there is a huge price to pay which is that of not being able to come back. But, we, activists in solidarity, vowed to make this sacrifice.

I could never remove from my eyes the image of my friend, Sitt Firial, whose son is in a hospital in Ain Shams, Egypt, dying. She wants to just go be with him.

They killed her yesterday; her tears fell down, her hand touching the glass window of the mukhabarat [intelligence] offices looking through. ‘Please, please. I beg you, show mercy, let me go in.’ 

Another woman sat by the amn dawla [government’s security] office, looking up to the security officer closing the way through. “You promised to let me in,” she said with her soft, tired and drained voice. “Please let me in” she repeated calmly with her tired voice, then looked at me with wide, tearful, sad eyes… childlike. I looked at him & vommitted all their acts back on them.

 I knew they would take it personally, but Jenny [Jenny Linnell, ISM activist] & I, chose to speak, resist & act. I called them “barbaric” & “savages” straight to their faces, and it felt good. Another woman offered an officer candy after he said he will give her going through another thought. ‘Lahza, lahza, tfaddal tfadal’ she said as she walked behind him hurryingly. The people are simple, kind, honest, genuine & real. What happens to them on the crossing is left in the soul; killing & stabbing it. They have been taught to accept this treatment. But, as activists, it is our job to break through the silence& scream out the injustice… no matter what the price. 

As I was talking to someone on the phone, telling him about the situation, a man of around seventy, an old sick palestinian elderly, just fell to the ground. Saied, from the mukhabarat, came up to me as i came closer to the elderly man as another officer was dragging him. Saeid pointed his index finger at me: ‘I will make sure you will never get out of here’ his tone cruel, low, and wicked. But, I replied saying ‘all that you have done to our people is registered in notebooks.” He said to me ‘really? we are untouchable’ in a vindictive tone. 

We resisted… & Jenny’s voice screaming- I couldn’t see her- but saying ‘Get off me! Get off me’ gave me strength to stay put, hold on to the window I was holding on to. 

Around ten men were around me, looking at them each in the eye, knowing i had to humanize them to humanize myself. ‘You have a daughter my age? I am 21… you accept your daughter be treated that way? I am your daughter, & your daughter & your daughter.” Amazingly so, the officers there whom I had eye contact with and spoke to, did NOT touch me. Only Saeid & another mukhabarat officer pulled me away.

 I couldn’t see Jenny & when I was dragged to the return bus, I saw that she had refused to get on the bus not knowing where i was. 

As they dragged and pushed us out, the man dragging me by the wrists said ‘your lucky my shoe is not in your mouth like they do in Jordan.” 

A young man who can’t speak & who was on a wheelchair, at one point of desparation, hit himself on the chest constantly. “Hmmm, hmmm hmmm!!’ he tried expressing himself as they pushed him & the wheel chair aggressively & Jenny kept saying “shway shway!” (take it easy)

 I am honoured to have lived yesterday, I am proud. It is a certificate to get killed, to suffer, to endure & resist with all that is Palestine, Palestine, Palestine, with all who fall under the hands of injustice.

 The little girl on a bus, said ‘mama, can we gather a shekel from each to give to the egyptians to pass through?’ The people shared bread & water, shared pain, & tears, shared laughter. Yes, we laughed. Laughter & love under the bombs to laughter & love under racism, degradation, humiliation, under monsters clad in clothes.

What are we now, & what could we be? I sacrifice anything now, now i know what it feels for the suicide bomber… I now know… that point of desparation.. 

Hasta la victoria siempre down with colonialism, totalitarianism, imperialism, capitalism, oppression & repression… colonialism the evil of all evils. Down with Arab oppressive regimes, down with Apartheid regimes, down with nationalisms, with borders and boundaries.

La vache qui rit regime will fall… 

What I heard the egyptian mukhabarat & officers of amn dawla tell the Palestinians & some to me when I protested against them & refused to leave without a reason why denied entry for tarheel (in arabic): 

“انته الفلسطينية جبته المشاكل و جيته”

“يلا امشي يلا!” ظابط مصري الى فلسطيني كبير السن

“لما ربنا يساعدنا حنساعدكم” ظابط مخابرات الى سيدة كبيرة السن و هو يتقهقه

“ابو شقرا!! هي خلصت الاسماء ولا ايه؟” وجهه ظابط مصري كريه و لئيم اليّ

“انت… انت مش حسيبك تطلعي من هنا!” ظابط مخابرات الي عندما وقفت الى جانب سيدي المسن عندما اغمي عليه

“مين حيحاسبني؟!” ظابط مخابرات مصري يرد علي عندما فجرت غضبي فيه

“لو كنت في الاردن كانت الجزمة تعتي فوق راسك!” ظابط مخابرات عندما رفضت الخروج من المعبر احتجاجا على تعذيبهم الجسدي و النفسي لي و لزميلتي 

Version française :

All pics from Nada Kassas, a brave egyptian activist and journalist

In Solidarity
from all
International Movement to Open Rafah Border

“Only a united world against oppression will help unite and free all of Palestine.”
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country

Photo by Natalie Abou Shakra. 2nd. June, 2009. Rafah. 'crowded 1'

Photo by Nada Kassas, Egyptian Journalist and Activist. 2nd. June, 2009. Rafah. 'crowded 1'


Photo by Natalie Abou Shakra. Rafah. 2nd. June, 2009

Photo by Nada Kassas. Egyptian Journalist and Activist. Rafah. 2nd. June, 2009


Photo by Natalie Abou Shakra. ISM Gaza. Rafah. June 2nd. 2009

Photo by Nada Kassas. Egyptian Journalist and Activist. Rafah. June 2nd. 2009



Photo by Natalie Abou Shakra. ISM Gaza. June 2nd. 2009

Photo by Nada Kassas. Egyptian Journalist and Activist. June 2nd. 2009


One Response to “Natalie’s testimony from the Gates of Hell (Rafah) – What the Egyptian Regime did to the Palestinians”

  1. […] and intimidation they experienced whilst attempting to cross the border at Rafah. See my previous post ‘Natalie’s Testimony at the Gates of Hell’.  The two women have now turned […]

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