Unbreakable in Cairo

Though I have lived most of my life in and around Chicago, it has never been my complete home. My sisters and I were born as first-generation Palestinian-Americans coming from Kuwait and for this reason our lives in Chicago always felt temporary — we were only supposed to stay until the Gulf War was over, we finished school, the occupation ended, the siege was broken, etc. The only accepted rhetoric about our presence in America was and continues to be, “This is not our home, we are from Gaza.” Dana Elborno writes from Cairo. 

Surviving in the "Palestinian Wing"

Seeing Hedaya slowly regain her smile and her strength is so comforting. At every visit, her beautiful facial features appear more visible and distinct. Um Nayef, her elder sister who accompanied her from Gaza to Cairo, in turn embraces me warmly when I come in and with the Palestinian dialect says ishtanalik, we miss you. I grin and hug her back. We sit down, share a few jokes about Hedaya’s health and exchange hellos with whoever is in the room. Dina Makram-Ebeid writes from Cairo. 

Putting a name to Gaza's injured

Bedridden but painfully conscious, nearly paralyzed with no feeling from the waist down, 16-year-old Abdul Rahman is one of the hundreds who were injured by intense Israeli shelling and firing on Gaza between 27 February - 3 March 2008, during an operation dubbed “Hot Winter” by the Israeli army. Eva Bartlett reports on this aspect of Israel’s siege on Gaza. 

Foes in Gaza, roommates in Cairo hospital

“You see, both Ahmad and I are staying in the same room at this hospital, where we are being treated for wounds we have sustained during infighting. I am a Hamas supporter, while he is with Fatah,” said Ibrahim, who was shot with several bullets in his body. Ahmad, the Fatah supporter and preventive security personnel of the al-Tuffah neighborhood in central Gaza City, said it all with his sad eyes. “What fault has my son committed to be in such a situation? May God take revenge on those who have beaten him,” said a bearded man, Ahmad’s father. EI contributor Rami Almeghari reports from Cairo. 

A personal plea to Alan Johnston's kidnappers

What I really want, obviously, is for Alan to be released. One month is an unbearable amount of time in such circumstances and I honestly cannot imagine how much the boredom and solitude might be affecting him, despite his strength of character, his calm nature and sharp mind. To those people who are waiting, hoping, and expecting for Alan’s release every day, however, I want to convey a brief detail of what I went through when kidnapped in Gaza. I can in no way imply that Alan is going through the same: he has been held for much longer and is alone. 

Dear friends: Gaza is in darkness

Its nearly 4 a.m. here and I decided to go back to my computer to communicate to my friends around the world what every single mainstream media channel, whether American, European or Arab, is failing to in regards to what is happening right now in Gaza, Palestine. I have been in front of the television for the past few hours, monitoring the news and I was shocked to see nothing on Gaza except for on two local Arab channels and one Arab satellite channel. Even Al-Jazeera, to my utter shock, didn’t so much as mention Gaza in its last two news broadcasts! 

Interrogated at the Israel-Egypt border

We were held for over 11 hours at the border and interrogated about every single item in our possession and repeatedly asked if we belonged to any “peace or leftist or even UN organization.” It was an incredibly harrowing experience — long periods of mind numbing boredom, staring out into the beautiful red sea, watching hordes of Israelis return from a roasting vacation in the Sinai and endless British Bible tour groups and American backpackers pass through security unharassed. An unpleasant boredom punctuated by short bursts of nerve-racking questioning about the most personal details of our lives (as culled from “offensive” sources in our bags like journals, letters, photographs, stationery, and even slogans on T-shirts), our plans for tourism in Israel, how we know each other, why we study Arabic, and do we know any Arabs. 

The last time I saw Mus'ab

“I follow the lines carefully with my finger on the screen. Mus’ab Jaber was shot dead. Do you ever become accustomed to this, as if it is normal? Why should you? It is not normal. It is excessive, but it never makes it normal. I don’t have the forbearance of many of my Arab friends. When I cried out, my Internet folk brought me a glass of water. That wouldn’t change the news, but I appreciated the care.” Regular EI contributor Annie Higgins remembers one Palestinian boy from Jenin.