Laila el-Haddad’s Palestinian Passover story

The talented Gaza-born journo Laila el-Haddad has been trying to go home to visit her parents, taking her two adorable– and fwiw US-born– children with her. Yousuf must be about four now, and Noor about 15 months old.
However the Egyptian Interior Security service won’t let them transit through their country, which is the only way a Gaza Palestinian can even dream of getting to her or his homeland these days.
Laila and the kids have been stuck in a holding-room in Cairo airport for the past 28 hours. (HT: The Arabist.)
She blogs:

    No one knows where my file is or what is going to happen. I have an off again on again wifi signal, and trying my best to keep updates on twitter @gazamom.

Go and follow her tweets there.
So today is Passover. Tomorrow is the commemoration of 61 years since the Deir Yassin massacre. Tomorrow is also the commemoration of the start of the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
… And Laila is stuck with her kids in Cairo airport, facing deportation. Apparently they don’t where to deport her to since her US visa has run out.
Just let her go home!!!!

22 thoughts on “Laila el-Haddad’s Palestinian Passover story”

  1. from the USAID site:
    U.S. Aid to Egypt Totals $28 Billion in Three Decades
    CAIRO — In the three decades since 1975, when the United States began its foreign assistance to Egypt, the most populous Arab country has made enormous progress. While its population rose from about 40 million to more than 70 million, incomes also rose and the standard of living has greatly improved.
    And now two US citizens and their mother are stuck in Cairo because “the Egyptian Interior Security service won’t let them transit through their country.”
    That’s gratitude for you.

  2. An update at her blog indicates that she is being deported after 36 hours in the Cairo airport “away from my home.” No other news–yet. This is terrible. Is there nothing we can do, stateside?

  3. An update at her blog indicates that she is being deported after 36 hours in the Cairo airport “away from my home.” No other news–yet. This is terrible. Is there nothing we can do, stateside?

  4. An update at her blog indicates that she is being deported after 36 hours in the Cairo airport “away from my home.” No other news–yet. This is terrible. Is there nothing we can do, stateside?

  5. This is the kind of ‘personal sob story’ that can tug at peoples’ heartstrings, in a very strong and positive way, and should be on American TV immediately.
    I don’t know how to do it, but contact Oprah!
    Copy the links to this lady’s twitter, and copy her photo (and those of her kids, if you can) to every non pro-Israeli blogger you can think of.

  6. Send to “every non pro-Israeli blogger”, why? Because pro-Israeli boggers like to see a woman suffer in an airport with two children? If we want to attribute only the most base impluses to pro-Israeli bloggers then Pro-Israeli bloggers are more likely to want her to be sent to the US on the principle of one less Gazan.

  7. Nothing much changes
    Here is Athens Airport by Darwish
    “Athens Airport”
    Athens airport disperses us to other airports. Where can I fight? asks the fighter.
    Where can I deliver your child? a pregnant woman shouts back.
    Where can I invest my money? asks the officer.
    This is none of my business, the intellectual says.
    Where did you come from? asks the customs’ official.
    And we answer: From the sea!
    Where are you going?
    To the sea, we answer.
    What is your address?
    A woman of our group says: My village is my bundle on my back.
    We have waited in the Athens airport for years.
    A young man marries a girl but they have no place for their wedding night.
    He asks: Where can I make love to her?
    We laugh and say:
    This is not the right time for that question.
    The analyst says: In order to live, they die by mistake.
    The literary man says: Our camp will certainly fall.
    What do they want from us?
    Athens airport welcomes its visitors without end.
    Yet, like the benches in the terminal, we remain, impatiently waiting for the sea.
    How many more years longer, O Athens airport?
    (Translated by Munir Akash and Carolyn Forché)
    It does serve to remind us that 100 days after the fighting and bombing stopped and despite the fine words and expressions of outrage Raffah remains closed.
    Let us wait and see if the US visa is renewed.

  8. And in the illegally occupied, colonized, and exploited territories, the brave warriors of “the most moral army in the world” drop bombs from thousands of feet in the air to blow up houses over the heads of babies and children, deliberately starve women and children, and gun down women, children, babies, and old people – and also gun down zoo animals in their cages at point blank range.
    Do you REALLY want to have a bloody shirt contest, Eurosabra?

  9. If Darwish is going to remember, he should REALLY remember. That means everything. Ghassan Kanafani wrote what happened to the Jewish baths of al-Manshiya quarter, Jaffa.
    Have you read any Avot Yeshurun, by any chance? There is Israeli nakba poetry, you know.

  10. How sad that even great poetry should become contentious.
    It is Easter break in Europe and any moment now Air Traffic Control will go on stike and strand thousands at Luton, Gatwick and Stansted and all will empathise with Mahmoud Darwish in his expression of the feelings of a mass of humanity trapped in an airport going nowhere.
    Perhaps we can empathise with the human tragedy of a young lady and her two small children who can’t go and see their Granny and Grandad.
    Truce until Monday??

  11. Ghassan Kanafani, the Palestinian writer who was murdered – aka blown up – by the Israeli government.

  12. I will confess that I adore a lot of Darwish work.
    I spent many joyous hours translating laboriously his description of his longing and desire and craving for the firt cup of coffee of the day and his description of the opposing drivers of self preservation in the rain of machine gun fire passing through his appartment in Beruit and the absolute overwhelming need to get to the kitchen to boilwater for coffee.
    Memory for Forgetfulness is a marvelous piece of work.
    I don’t know Avot Yeshrun or his/her work.. Do tell.

  13. And his niece, Lamis. too. Kanafani’s work included Jewish victims, while his militancy with the PFLP created them.
    Yeshurun was one of the first Israeli poets to pair Holocaust and Nakba, pretty explicitly:
    Steps of camels ring? Ding-dong. Did you hear? Can’t hear? How come Jews’ ears don’t hear? Have you ever come to know the Arabs? Our Shoah we have lamented, theirs we haven’t? There’s war now. Such a handsome generation.
    And why do you write? Write for the sake of writing?
    No more.
    I would argue that _The Syrian-African Rift_ is one of his best books. Very little is available in English.

  14. “Historian Gabriel Piterberg held up the poetry of the late Avot Yeshurun as a model of blending narratives and identities by mixing Arabic and Yiddish idiom into Hebrew poetry. Anthropologist Smadar Lavie said a common struggle against the oppression of Jews of Arab descent and Palestinian Arabs offered a way out of Zionism towards co-existence. Historian Ilan Pappe pointed to many concrete “de-Zionising” projects on the ground, including shared kindergartens.”

  15. Laila has updated her blog with a tale of her ordeal in the Kafkaesque environment of Cairo Airport.
    Always waiting. For this is what the Palestinian does: we wait. For an answer to be given, for a question to be asked; for a marriage proposal to be made, for a divorce to be finalized; for a border to open, for a permit to be issued; for a war to end; for a war to begin; for a child to be born; for one to die a martyr; for retirement or a new job; for exile to a better place and for return to the only place that knows us; for our prisoners to come home; for our home to no longer be prisons; for our children to be free; for freedom from a time when we no longer have to wait.
    Friends and family in Egypt, the US, and Gaza, worked around the clock with me, calling in any favors they had, anyone they knew, doing anything they could to get some answers and let me through. But the answer was always the same: Amn il Dawla (State Security and Intelligence) says no, and they are the ultimate authorities. No one goes past them.
    It is unfortunate that Egypt is having a spasm of concern about Hizb Allah invading them and upsetting the applecart at the same time Laila was there.
    It is good to see that she too publishes Athens Airport and agrees with its universal appeal.

  16. Land of ruins: A report on Gaza’s economy
    AMY GOODMAN: We turn to a report on the state of the Gazan economy, where unemployment and poverty rates are among the highest in the world. Despite international pledges of over $5.2 billion to rebuild Gaza, in the four months since Israel’s assault the siege has not been lifted and only one truck carrying cement and other construction materials has been allowed entry into the Gaza Strip.
    Testimony to the “success’ of the Obama/Tizni/Netanyahu/Lieberman plan of annihilation for the Palestinians.

  17. How can it be that Israel/Egypt can just lock all the Palestinians of Gaza behind their fences AND blockade their seacoast and the entire rest of the world is like “…tsk, tsk, they’re all going to sicken and starve and die. Oh well, nothing can be done…”
    Lots can be done. Israel/Egypt do not have to be invaded to get aid to the Palestinians. That’s what navies are for. Piracy and blockades need not be allowed to stand.
    There is an American fleet of ships in the Mediterranean Sea. Obama is purposefully exercising Neocon “benign neglect” of the Palestinians.
    Tsk, tsk. They’re all going to sicken and starve and die. Nothing can be done.

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