Alaa Radwan | 11-04-2015
My Facebook timeline is overcrowded with “Happy New Year” wishes.
I scroll down my Facebook news feed. I try not to catch a glimpse of the 2015 wishes of my friends abroad. However, my attempt to avoid reading their wishes fails!
It saddens me to see that other people’s wishes for the New Year are so different from what so many Palestinians would even consider possible. Why? Why can’t we dream of things other than having a year without another bloody war with Israel, having 24/7-electricity, and having the freedom to travel abroad? Why can’t Gazans just have a normal life? Why can’t we enjoy a festive beginning to the New Year as all other people around the world do? My heart aches, what I and other Gazans call wishes are what the rest of the world calls rights!
What Are My Big Wishes?
To receive my two language-learning maps
I know this may sound too humble a wish to all of you. But my friend, who lives in the USA, bought me two language-learning maps from Linguisticator: English and French. Being an English teacher, I so eagerly want to have Linguisticator’s English map in which professional linguists explaine the entire language. I simply want to use up-to-date teaching techniques. I want to put the French map on the wall of my room so that I can quickly memorize the structures, the patterns and the vocabulary of French. I want to tell my friends that I am so fortunate that I got those maps.
You might ask yourself why I cannot simply order them. Well, I did ask my friend to send them via an international mail service. Unfortunately, all the services told him they can ship them to any part of “Israel” but not to Gaza. They did not even know that Israel, in practical terms, is farther from Gaza than America is: Many Gazans have been to the USA, but few have ever had a chance to cross the wall and visit Jerusalem.
Gaza! The largest open-air prison in the world. The fact that when you are in a normal prison, you can send and receive stuff proves that the situation in Gaza is worse and more miserable than it is in prison for criminals. Things continue to grow worse for us, especially after Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, the current president of Egypt, took over. To enter or leave Gaza is and will continue to be an insurmountable challenge. All I want are my language maps; where else in the world would getting such educational materials be impossible?
To have 24/7 electricity
Electricity, again! Every Palestinian wishes to have 24/7 electricity. Currently, Gaza power operates on a “six-hours-on, 12-hours-off” schedule. Only six hours of electricity a day! It is 3:46 a.m. right now and I should finish writing this piece before the clock strikes 7 a.m., because I won’t have electricity for the following 12 hours. Today’s share of electricity, for example, is from 1 to 7 a.m.—the time in which “normal” people sleep. Power cuts make me read or do my assignments when I should be sleeping. Can’t I just sleep, without caring about when electricity will come on or go off?
I think these two wishes are enough for 2015. I will keep hoping I get my maps sometime soon. Knowing very well that electricity will never come all day long here, I won’t waste my hope on it.
First published on Mondoweiss.
Posted: January 1, 2015