Palestine’s Paralympians: Without Medals, With Pride

*Mohammed Fanouna is welcomed back proudly at the Rafah crossing after the Paralympics.

RAFAH, Gaza, Sep 14 2012 (IPS) – By Eva Bartlett

The car’s engine revs, wheels spinning in vain, as it sinks deeper into the sandy lane near Rafah, southern Gaza. Members of the Palestinian Paralympic Committee (PPC) are en route to welcome Palestine’s two Paralympic contenders, Mohammed Fanouna and Khamis Zaqut, home from the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

Zaqut and Fanouna, both repeat medal winners in prior Paralympic, Arab, and Asian Games, came fourth and ninth respectively in their events in London 2012. CONTINUE READING

Gaza Economy Tailored to Fail

What was once Rizk Al-Madhoun’s clothing factory.

JABALIYA, Gaza, Sep 8 2012 (IPS) -By Eva Bartlett **(blog version longer than original published)

“Gaza’s economy is expected to grow modestly and people will likely still be worse off in 2015 compared to the mid-1990s,” reads a press release announcing the United Nations’ August 2012 report, ‘Gaza in 2020 – A Liveable Place?’

In the no-frills office of his stalled Jabaliya clothing factory, Rizik Al-Madhoun, 41, explains how his clothing factory began shutting down six years ago. CONTINUE READING

morning serenade

Israeli warplanes and drones roaring and buzzing overhead are so normal in Gaza that one usually doesn’t consciously acknowledge their presence. But when you do, you get to thinking about all of the terrors they are capable of.

This brief, low-quality recording is only a sample of the air activity over Gaza on any given day… an inadequate sample in that I only captured a few minutes of a quieter version of the roars that vary from every few hours to every few minutes, depending on the day/night.

example of multiple drones droning immediately after winter 2008/2009 Israeli massacre of Gaza:

disappointed Calvin

Fufu is a precocious child, with impressive determination and intelligence. The last of six children, he is coddled only with love, not with money. Like his siblings, he finds creative ways to amuse himself most of the time.  He’s a couple years younger than Calvin, but as mischievous Watterson’s boy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he has similar monologues in his tiny head. But today, he was hoping to join kindergarten, even though he is still a year shy of that.  continue reading

Glimpse of Freedom at Rafah Crossing

rafah palestine

The Rafah crossing. Credit: Eva Bartlett/IPS.

RAFAH, Gaza, Aug 30 2012, 1st Published at Inter Press Service (IPS) -By Eva Bartlett

“I waited from 10 am till 5 pm for my wife to cross from Egypt. She was among many hundreds who were coming into Gaza. Some waited since 6 am, some since the day before.”

Jaber (who requested anonymity out of fear of future restrictions on his exiting Gaza) was relieved when, a few days before Eid holiday began on Aug. 19, his wife was able to cross from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. During the three days of Eid, the Rafah border crossing was closed in both directions.

“Of course I was happy that my wife got through, but I was also disgusted at how Palestinians are forced to wait for, or are denied, the right to exit and enter our country.”

On Aug. 25, the border opened anew, temporarily easing the worries of Palestinians in Gaza who feared the opposite outcome: indefinite closure. continue reading

festive psychological torture in Gaza

Sun Aug. 19

1:05 pm

I’ve been back in Gaza 4 days now and now hear the familiar roar of a Zionist warplane over Deir al Balah where I live. I was wondering where they were, knew they hadn’t gone away. Now, with the passing war-roar, things seem sickeningly normal here. continue reading

Run through High Park, for Palestine

Since I was participating in today’s Run for Palestine, I was only able to take a few photos before the event. I’m sure that organizers and others will post photos on the website in days to come.

However it was a great run, over 70 participants, lots of good spirit, and everyone crossed the line despite high humidity and heat.  I’m told I finished the 5 km run in 24 minutes and 45 seconds, which is better than I expected, having not trained very much in the days leading up to today’s Run.  My main goal was to raise awareness, and funds, for the NGOs (MAP UK and Islamic Relief) and the work the do in Gaza (see previous post), and to wear Palestine’s flag as I ran, as did everyone else.

Nice work to the organizers and thank you everyone who donated and supported the Run for Palestine in some way. Pledges in my name contributed over $367 (some pledged that I don’t know about so it’s over $400).  Thanks to all. Chukran al kul.