the invisible maladies

not for the first time, yesterday i meet a father whose child needs treatment outside of Gaza.  he mentions it to me, not because i appear to be a medical expert, but because he is desperate.

“my son was hit by a car 2 years ago and had severe damage to his head.  he’s had operations in gaza and in israel, but is still very bad off now.”

he explains that moayyed has a build-up of fluid in his head putting pressure on his brain, causing extreme pain and disorientation.

“he can’t speak, walk, function normally,” abu moayyed tells me, not to mention is in great pain.

we part, me promising to contact groups like PCRF and PHR-Israel to see what is possible for the 8 year old.  the father can’t thank me enough and i’m embaressed: in what other place is this acceptable, that a parent can live in desperation, worrying for his/her child, having no means of seeking medical care for the child?  how common is it anywhere else that a child will be denied the right to life because the medical expertise is not available, banned from entering, or the child is prevented from leaving for care?

of course, it’s not only children who suffer the closed borders.  the palestinian ministry of health puts the number of siege-related medical cases resulting in deaths at over 360.  physicians for human rights-israel reports on denial of exit permits for cancer cases, resulting in death. b’tselem has taken the testimonies of victims of denied medical care (as well as targeted medical responders), in gaza and in the occupied west bank, showing an israeli policy targeting palestinians in all of occupied palestine.

i remember mohammed, the youth with a rare but dangerous foot condition which saw his skin dissolve from the disease; unable to get early consultation and care, he lived in shame and agony for years before his foot was amputated.

and nidal, the youth in attatra who has lost all sensibilities.  there’s still a chance for him, and outside supporters have pledged to help.  but without that connection…

and too many more to write about, too many more i haven’t even met.

living in quiet desperation, because the borders are closed, and the walls closed-in, on them.

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