By Sarah Ikhmayes, Al-Awda-NY
(Written while sitting in Customs waiting to cross)
In the first minute of reaching the Egyptian Rafah border, I witness Palestinians, Americans and Europeans all waiting. Waiting to cross, waiting to eat, waiting to see the atrocities that humans can commit against each other.
I can't get the image out of my head. A father stranded for more than two weeks, holding up his baby girl crying to us through the window so we can see the pain and the suffering that they have been enduring for the past few days.
There were probably hundreds waiting to get in. As soon as our bus reached the gate, they swarmed around us. Raising peace signs, taking pictures, crying and praising Allah.
Can you imagine what I'm telling you? imagine being within a couple of hundred feet away from your home and being denied the right to return. Imagine being stranded steps away from your homeland and having to return to a foreign country. I can never imagine myself in such a situation. As tears rained down our faces, we took pictures of our fellow comrades. The brave ones withstanding the hundred degree temperatures to return home. Our beloved brothers and sisters, a few feet's distance separating us and we can't offer them water. Water, the bare necessity of survival.
Humans deprived of every possible right out here. Our people dying before our eyes and all we can do is offer them a smile. A smile that symbolizes our forever solidarity with them. A smile that symbolizes patience and hope. Patience for them to wait as long as necessary to get back home. And hope for a better tomorrow and a sooner return home.
God bless our brothers and sisters that endure such suffering on a minute to minute basis. We have not entered Gaza yet. We have only merely passed the border and I feel as if my heart has left me to be in their arms. Gaza, Palestine, gates will never keep us from our given right to return home. It just takes patience and hope. And this is what this border has given me.