We, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, have been suffering from a slow death sentence for a long time

September 1, 2016

I always repeat that every experience or feeling we Palestinians possess is an outcome from our threatened identity. I had stayed in Europe for the last 6 months within an education exchange program between Turkey – where I am usually studying – and the European Union. I have worked very hard and gave all my energy, activities and liveliness to win such a chance. No, I didn’t go there for fun, just like my other college mates. My main motivation to go to Europe was finding a place where I can see my family members who are separated between Gaza and Europe. Since I came back to Turkey some weeks ago, I have been trying to write something about that period of my life but I am still under the shock of our family reunion that we have been dreaming of for years. I still cannot believe that I finally slept in mum’s lap like a child after 4 years of separation and felt her unconditional love I missed. I am still shocked that I laughed, cried, hung out with my siblings after such a long time.

Mum got her visa finally; it was our enormous challenge to get the visa application so that she could get out of the biggest open-air prison, Gaza. The tidings of the visa acceptance was received as a reunion celebration for the family. We thought our dream of meeting each other would come true when mum got her visa. It was our fault that we forgot that mum is living in the Gaza Strip which has been under the Israeli and Egyptian blockade for 10 years.  Despite everything, we kept the light of hope inside us alive. Mum determined to try every possible way to put an end to our separation and hug us even if it was for a second. She applied to travel through Erez checkpoint to pass through the West Bank to Jordan, but she was denied for “security reasons”. We had only one other option which is setting up a special “coordination” with the Egyptian authorities in return for $2200. We went for this option and mum finally was able to leave Gaza.

I couldn’t sleep the night she made her way from Cairo airport to Berlin airport. I was trying to imagine what our reaction would be, how would a long time hug feels like, had I forgotten my mum’s smell or did I forget how safe it is being in her arms. I thought “I will be crying non stop like a baby when I see her coming out from the airport gates”; but I didn’t, I kept staring at her face, eyes, and hands trying to discover her new wrinkles. It felt very weird for me to say the word “MAMA” again face to face. I enjoyed her funny comparisons between Gaza and Europe. After we all had the chance to spend some time together, the time came for mum to return to Gaza. Mum’s happiness was incomplete. She’s had to pay the price of leaving the Gaza Strip on her return trip from Europe back to Gaza. Mum has been now stuck in Jordan for about one month as the Egyptian authorities continue to close the Rafah border. Her only crime was the mother inside her that insisted to underestimate this journey of hell to hold her children.

We, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, have been suffering from a slow-death sentence for a long time. We are being punished collectively for no reason, without any crime. The Egyptian and Jordanian authorities in cooperation with the Israeli colonial regime have been successful at turning the life of Gazans into hell. This injustice has to come to an end. A resolution for this siege has to come. People have to wake up and make some actions.