Waiting for Godot (and no kiss goodbye)
Derek’s story continues…
No move on the border today we have been told 100% that only pilgrims will pass. That doesn`t mean we`re not trying, we are still calling every one we know and pulling in any favors we can. So we have been guaranteed that we can leave tomorrow first thing. The funeral arrangements are made, removal on Wednesday and burial on Thursday after 11 o`clock mass. This is ok if we get out and get to Cairo airport, there is a flight at 4 in the morning and we will get into Dublin at 10.30, that means we can be in Ballina by 2 o`clock in time for the removal.
Didn`t get much sleep between my mind racing and listening to the Israeli’s shooting at the fishermen. We got up at 6 and just sat around waiting for the bus to arrive. We were on the road just after 8 and got to Rafah at quarter to 9. All ready for the day or so we thought, we got there and there was 1000`s all trying to get out. Everybody trying to get past the first gate, if you get past the first gate you have a good chance of getting across. It is getting worse and worse every time the border opens. Previously it would open once every 2 weeks now it is once every 4 to 5 weeks. So when it does open people are more desperate to get out. Some of the scenes today were very distressing, women and children crying, men screaming.
We tried to pass and were told wait 5 minutes, first bad sign of the day because 5 minutes means 1 maybe 2 hours. Panic starts to set in because sometimes the Egyptians open the border for 2 hours and then shut it for no reason. All I can do is start making phone call to everyone I know. After an hour or so of calling people I got a call back to say that the official that deals with the foreigners will come down to the gate in 5 minutes (1-2 hour).It was like that play “Waiting for Godot”. He arrived at 1 o`clock, 2 and a half hours later and told all the internationals that they can`t leave today, we can got tomorrow at 9 o`clock guaranteed. At this point I started to lose it and told him, quite loudly, that we were guaranteed to leave today and that this was an emgency, all the rest of the international understood our situation and agreed for Jenny and myself to pass and they would remain. The official agreed to see what he could do and would call the Egyptian side just for 2 people to pass.
After he left I sat down by myself and the realization of what was happening started to hit me, I was going to miss the removal and would not be able to kiss Mam goodbye and would never see her again. Have you ever had that sick feeling in your stomach of hopelessness, well double that. Looking around I could hear and see so many other people in the same sick situation and sick situation is the only way to describe it. Begging and pleading to be allowed to do what everyone else takes as a God given right to be treated like a human being and be allowed to travel freely. Shame on the world for allowing this to happen and for turning a blind eye to it.
40 minutes later the official came back and said no way any international are crossing today not even us two. At this point my heart was broken into 100 pieces. I missed Mam passing, I`m missing the wake tonight ( mam is been waked in the house tonight) and I will miss the removal.
I had held it together all day and on the way back to Gaza my sister called, that’s when I lost it and turned into a blubbering mess. Maria calmed me down and we chatted about what to do next. She told me this is all happening for a reason and we might not know what the reason is right now but it will all be clear later. I hope so because it isn`t making any sense right now. It`s now over 2 week since we first started trying to get out, many Palestinians have spent their whole lives trying to get out and I wouldn`t say it`s making much sense to them either.