From Chiapas, Mexico and Vietnam’s Mekong Delta to West Africa (where a war against women is now underway), Tomdispatch has lately been traveling to some of the more scarred places on the planet. Today, Jen Marlowe, a documentary filmmaker and human rights activist (as well as the author of Darfur Diaries: Stories of Survival) offers an account of her journey into the desperate human tragedy of the besieged Gaza Strip.
Marlowe has been visiting the Gaza Strip periodically since 2002, when she was living in Jerusalem while working on an Israeli/Palestinian peace-building program. She has participated in nonviolent demonstrations with Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists resisting the Israeli separation barrier being built, in part, through Palestinian lands and the growing system of Israeli-only roads on the West Bank. The deepening degradation of Gazans living under a merciless siege, visibly a living hell, is something she vividly captures at a personal level. Tom
The Tightening Noose
By Jen Marlowe
Images from Rafah flicker on my computer screen. Gazans blowing up chunks of the wall that stood between them and Egypt, punching holes in the largest open-air prison in the world and streaming across the border. An incredible refusal to submit.
I learn via email that my friend Khaled Nasrallah rented a truck in order to drive food and medicine from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. He was acting for no humanitarian organization. He’s just a resident of Rafah, a Palestinian town which borders Egypt, with a deep need to help and an opportunity to seize.
Rarely does our media offer images so laden with the palpable despair that has become daily life in the Gaza Strip. The situation has bordered on desperate since the outbreak of the Second Intifada in October 2000, when Gazans could no longer work inside Israel and the attacks and incursions of Israel’s military, the IDF, became a regular occurrence. Closures on the Strip progressively intensified.
On January 25, 2006, Hamas, an acronym for “the Islamic Resistance Movement,” won the Palestinian Authority parliamentary elections, defeating the reigning secular, nationalist Fatah Party. Israel, the United States, and the European Union all refused to recognize the new Hamas government and many elements within Fatah also went to great lengths to ensure that it failed.