Wednesday, January 23, 2008

World's largest prison
World's largest jailbreak

Palestinians cross the border into Egypt after militants exploded the wall between Gaza Strip and Egypt, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2008. Masked Palestinian gunmen blew holes into the Gaza-Egypt border wall Wednesday, and thousands of Gazans trapped in their territory by a tight blockade poured into Egypt to buy food, fuel and other supplies that have become scarce. Egyptian border guards and Hamas police took no action as Palestinians hurried over the border and began returning with bags of food, boxes of cigarettes and plastic bottles of fuel.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Laila El-Haddad reports and reflects on the break out.

Last night I received a text message from Fida-"its coming down-its coming down!" she declared ecstatically. "Laila! the Palestinians destroyed Rafah wall, all of it. All of it no part of it! Your sister Fida."

More texts followed, as I received an periodical updates on the situation in Rafah, where it was 3 am.

"Two hours ago people were praising God everywhere. The metal wall was cut and destroyed. So was the cement one. It is great Laila, it is great" she declared. ...

And so once again, this monstrosity that is a source of so much agony in our lives, that cripples our movement and severs our ties to each other and to our world, to our families and our homes, our universities and places of work, hospitals and airports, has fallen through the will of the people; and sadly, once again, it will go up. Of course, [Egypt's] Mubarak has tried to take credit for this, blabbering something about how they let them open it because Gazans were starving, while arresting 500 demonstrators in Cairo for speaking their mind against the siege.

The border opening also will not provide Gazans with an opportunity to travel abroad, b/c their passports will not have been stamped leaving Gaza, but it will at the very least give them some temporary respite from the siege. ...

People often ask me why such things -- meaning people powered civil protests that can overcome even the strongest occupation -- don't happen sooner, or more often, or at all for that matter. We underestimate the power of occupation to destroy a people's will to live, let alone resist and and attempt to change the situation. This is the worst thing about occupation, whether a military occupation like Israel's, or a political one like Hosni Mubarak's in his own country.

And it is only when you can overcome the psychological occupation, the occupation of the mind, that the military occupation in all its manifestations can be defeated.

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