Philip Rizk

Gaza: Non-Entity

Leaving Gaza requires one to walk through a long tunnel made up of turnstiles, X-ray machines, gates, cages and passport controls. This past Wednesday I found the tunnel ending abruptly ahead of me, a crudely fashioned wall barred me from the usual way of entry — instead, an opening to the right lead to an unknown place. I turned the corner and found myself in an Orwellian passage leading to a huge building with four automatic doors that were shut tight. Along this fenced-in passageway runs an anachronistic, medieval ditch, beyond it a mound made of rubble and dirt of the once magnificently fruitful region of Beit Hanoun. 

My birthday in Jabalya refugee camp

I spent my 25th birthday in Jabalya, Gaza’s biggest refugee camp. I have known Jamal, a taxi driver in Gaza, for almost two years. I could only protest so many times at his neglecting to host me in his home. In spite of the pleas of his children, whom I had met on a number of occasions outside his home, I realized today why he never did. I have often entered the homes of refugees while distributing food across the Gaza Strip and yet what struck me that day was the familiarity of Jamal sitting by my side against the unfamiliarity of his home.