Leila el Haddad who has blogged at Gaza Mom since 2004 is visiting Northern California to promote her new book of the same name. The schedule for her West Coast tour is here.
She conveys eloquently the texture of daily life for the Palestinian inmates in Israel's human zoo -- small joys, small humiliations, a life that is at once "normal and abnormal" even "incomprehensible" to those outside the walled borders. This talented journalist has been forced to live a bifurcated life because her husband, though Palestinian, is not permitted to enter her Gaza homeland by Israeli authorities. So much of her life is in Baltimore where he works at Johns Hopkins, punctuated by stays in Gaza.
For a small sample of her writing (a bit she read last night), go check out her account of trying to explain to her two year old son why they, as Palestinians dependent on Israeli and Egyptian whims, cannot cross the border at Rafah to be with the child's Gaza grandparents.
Much of her writing is about that border with Egypt, Gaza's primary entrance and exit. Of course we, her audience, wanted her thoughts on the uprising and overthrow of Mubarak. But how could a Palestinian, dependent on passing through Cairo, accustomed to Egypt acting as co-jailer along with the Israelis of the 1.7 million Gazans, be anything but circumspect? Though naturally glad to have seen Mubarak fall, all she could or would say, sensibly, was