Ben Granby

The Invasion - a West Bank journal - Part I

On Friday, March 29 while sitting in an Armenian coffee shop in Jerusalem’s Old City, a radio broadcast came on in Arabic with gunfire in the background. Something was amiss, and all the owner could tell us was that it involved Ramallah. The attacks had begun on the very day I had hoped to pay a visit to the city with my friend visiting from Belgium. 

Musings During the Lull - March 23, 2002

Things change here, but its almost impossible to notice. People are perpetually happy, unless they are dying, or angry over someone else’s death. The look on the face of the average Gaza City resident in the past 2 weeks has not changed. The kids still yell “Whats your name?” at me, the women still shyly look away and the shopowners still say “Welcome.” Prospects for peace haven’t changed any of that. Although I begin to wonder if its because no one is at all hopeful. 

Missiles Fall Like Rain - March 8-12, 2002

I neglected to add one anecdote from my tour of the ruins of Police City on Tuesday night. One of the officers who walked with me most of the time, and proceeded to go on in Arabic as I just nodded and smiled, came across some papers lying in the rubble. He picked them out, slapped them with the back of his hand and went off ranting about something that I couldn’t understand. 

Gaza - Bombing begins - March 4-7, 2002

The fears arose on Monday night. Through my contact Jose, I had been introduced to two other Americans working at different NGO’s here, Darryl and Nathan. Both had strong academic, dare I say nerdy backgrounds (they began talking about Voltron cartoons after not too long), yet it had enabled them to pick up Arabic in a relatively short time. They also had been here for much longer. 

Life in Rafah - March 2, 2002

I set out to Rafah with Mahmud from work on mid-Thursday. The route to Rafah crosses two roads used exclusively by Israeli settlers, which for us Palestinian kinfolk entails long waits at military checkpoints. On this day we managed to only spend about 30-45 minutes waiting in the sun, as once a few scheduled Eged busses full of Israeli settlers passed, we were free to cross in our taxi. 

Life in Gaza, Week 1, Feb 28, 2002

So far Gaza life has been rather uneventful. The entry was still intimidating, as passing through the Erez Checkpoint is like entering a maximum security jail. I was a little shaken as I walked up to the Israeli guardpost, noticing at my feet one of the telltale ‘Sarajevo Roses’ - a shell hit that peels pavement in the shape of a flower.