Someone just wrote and asked me if I was planning to go on any more trips. "Where are you going to go next?" she asked.
"I'm planning to go hide under the bed," I replied. It's cheap and easy to get to and nobody tries to shoot at you once you get there. Except maybe the dust bunnies.
"But Jane," you might ask, "if you really want to go back and embed in Iraq, why don't you just keep your mouth shut about not supporting the war -- then you might stand a chance that they would let you back in." I'm sorry, but I just can't do that. Why not? Because it wouldn't be fair to the very people who seem to want me to spin my stories toward making the "war" look good. I mean, seriously. Just look at the reality of the situation. Bush's war is bankrupting America. We are no longer a super-power because of Bush's Shock and Awe folly. And we are going to HAVE to evacuate Iraq or else face another sub-prime disaster here in the US -- only when this next one hits, we will lose our treasury, our healthcare, our infrastructure and our jobs as well as our homes.
And when the American military IS forced to get out of Iraq -- not by insurgents but by economics -- I want be over there so that I can report on the evacuation. Why? Because I'm a freaking journalist! That's only good journalism -- to want to go where there's a story. Double-duh!
"But would you like to go and report on Gaza if you have the chance?" Yeah, right. How much fun can that be. They strip-search you at the border, you live in abject poverty with no food, water or electricity, you get to watch the sewage run down the streets and the little children die slowly and painfully from bullet wounds. You get your sleep interrupted by sound bombs all night, sleep in the heat because there's no electricity to run the A/C and live on witchity-grubs because there isn't any food. And on the way out you get strip-searched again. No thanks. I'm a rational adult. I prefer to hide under the bed.
But then I got invited to a dinner in Sunnyvale, a benefit for the Free Gaza Movement. They are planning to buy a boat and sail from Cyprus to Gaza, bringing food and clothing and fuel. That sounded sort of interesting. A Mediterranean cruise. Would there be shuffleboard and a buffet?
After dinner, Dr. Hatem Bazian spoke. "The Israeli policy in Gaza is deliberate -- to promote isolation," he said. "They tell Palestinians that, 'We need to occupy you in order to bring you democracy. And if that doesn't work, then we shoot you.' Bush pushed for an election in Palestine so that there would be a victory for Fatah. However, Fatah was divided and its candidates were known to be corrupt. Their corruption was common knowledge to the Palestinians on the street, so Fatah lost the election.
"So then the United States went to Option 2: To prevent a unity government from emerging. And so they imported the El Salvador model -- to create a civil war, trying to get rid of the party that has popular support and trying to bring back the old party. So they brought in Elliot Abrams, the man who was successful in creating the El Salvador civil war." Wow! America actually brought in the original oldie-but-goodie guy who INVENTED the Salvador Model. That's a real walk down memory lane.
"Meanwhile, the Egyptians were trying to block the Islamic Brotherhood in their own country and so Egypt supported Fatah. And the Sunnis supported the enemies of Iran. But despite all their efforts, the civil war plan didn't work and so they started the siege instead." Plan C.
"Currently the Israelis are withholding fuel from Gaza. But what is ironic is that the European Union and the Palestinians pay for the fuel, not the Israelis." And also apparently the Israelis also make the EU pay Israel a gas tax as well. "It is the responsibility of an occupying power to provide necessities to the country that they are occupying, yet the Israelis are forcing the Palestinians to pay for their own occupation." Then they served us lamb shiskabobs and tabuli
Then Dr. Paul Larudee showed us a film on Gaza. "There are often up to 25 people living in one room, there are extremely narrow alleyways instead of streets and the children have no place to play." And apparently Dov Weinglass stated that it is the Israeli policy to put the people of Gaza on diets -- not to starve them to death totally, like the Nazis did at Auschwitz. Whew! I took another bite of the lamb.
"Children under the age of five," stated Dr. Larudee, "have stunted growth. 40 million litres of sewage per day flow into the Mediterranean because there is no fuel to process it. 107 different types of medications are completely unavailable. Water is 10 times more polluted than international standards allow. Kidney failure is rampant. There is NO FUEL AT ALL -- even to power the generators at the hospitals. 123 people have died so far because they can't get even the simplest medical treatment. 1,500 people are on the waiting list for medical care." People are always saying that Gaza is like a jail but it sounds like these people would be better off at San Quentin.