Mohammed, 71 and so threatening he is not allowed out of Gaza for eye surgery


*Mohammed Kahawish, showing where he injured his leg many months ago. He’d like to leave Gaza for surgery on his left eye but for the last year has been denied by the Israeli authorities.

The last time I visited Mohammed and Miriam Kahawish and their two children a few weeks ago, Mohammed was out, at the doctors.

Today, he was home, and we were equally glad to see one another, catch up.

I think he told me over twenty times I was part of their family, like his daughter (sometimes his memory failing him and age playing tricks he’d say I was like his sister. Miriam was quick to correct on my age, but likewise generous in such comments).

Today he spoke of the massage therapy he’s getting on one of his legs (he’d fallen a while ago and fractured the leg). He also spoke of how he’d like to leave Gaza for surgery on his left eye, but that the Israeli authorities imprisoning Gazans keep denying him permission to leave, despite his doctor’s notes.

He is absolutely not supposed to walk too much, climb anything, do too much work. Because of his poor eyesight –only having the use of one age-affected eye –he also has to worry about the surface on which he walks: stumbling over an unseen obstacle could set him back in a cast and immobile.

Yet maybe a month ago, from a taxi, I saw Mohammed, out on the street, collecting something for re-sale, still trying to work, despite his injury, the pain. He is one Gaza’s many citizens against the siege: defying the Israeli-Egyptian lock-down of borders and shut-down of Gaza’s economy by scraping by on determination.


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