By Susan Schwartz, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)
The civilized world watches in horror as the tragedy of Gaza and its beleaguered residents unfolds. In what has been referred to as â€œthe worldâ€™s largest prisonâ€, Gaza is a small land mass with 1.4 million people who are occupied by the Israelis, under siege by the Israelis, subject to poverty and violence and have to make due with the most meager of resources. The only exit/entrance to Gaza permitted to Palestinians is the southern town of Rafah, and Rafah has been opened by the Israelis 70 times in the past year. Now the border has been closed for five weeks. Rafah is the entrance/exit into Egypt.
Dr. Mona El Farra, a physician from Gaza, recently completed a 45 day speaking engagement across the United States. Her last engagement was in Pasadena, Ca. and was reported by The Muslim Observer. Dr. El Farra shrugged fatalistically when asked during the question and answer portion of her presentation whether she anticipated any problems for herself upon re-entering Gaza.
â€œI havenâ€™t let the Israelis frighten me so far; I will not start now.â€
As Dr. El Farra mesmerized her audience with first hand accounts of the suffering of the residents of Gaza, the situation became real for the audience in a way that surpasses media accounts. Little did her listeners know that within a few days of her presentation, Dr. El Farra would become a victim herself.
Her audience applauded her courage. Sadly, when she left the United States, Dr. El Farra was not permitted re entry into Gaza though her mother was near death in a hospital. Dr. El Farra was not allowed to be with her mother in her motherâ€™s final moments.
Dr. El Farra sent pleas over the internet â€œâ€Can some one help me go home?.â€
Tragedy on a large scale can sometimes be understood and internalized when it is writ small. People are born and die while waiting to cross into Gaza. They suffer from thirst, hunger, exhaustion and fear. And, as in the case of Dr. El Farra, they cannot be with loved ones in their final moments. The Israelis remain intransigent. All other exits/entrances in Gaza remain closed.
A few days after she left the United States Dr. El Farra became another statistic. Her mother died without her daughter at her side.
â€œGoodbye, Mum, I hope you rest in peace, a peace we do not enjoy in Gaza.â€