“In Gaza, all our dreams end at the Rafah Border.” Designed by Mohammed Abdulrahman. Shared on Twitter by @AlaaAlShokri
Dreams were made and crushed at the Rafah Border crossing, between Egypt and Gaza, Palestine, which has been bolted shut by the Egyptian authorities following the ouster of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi. As a result of the closure, Palestinian students cannot travel abroad to their universities outside Gaza, and remain stranded at the Rafah crossing, which is the main crossing for 1.7 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip due to the Israeli blockade.
The Rafah crossing was opened on Wednesday and Thursday [18-19 September, 2013] for a brief period of time. On Wednesday, 333 passengers crossed; another 557 passengers entered Egypt through the crossing on Thursday. Overall, there were 1200 passengers waiting for a passage on those two days, according to the official page for news of the Rafah crossing, with hundreds of Palestinian students still waiting for permission to cross.
On Wednesday (September 18), a group of Palestinan students held a sit-in, demanding to open the crossing so that they can attend their missed lectures and exams. Many are still stranded at the border.
Among them is Shahd Abu Salamah, who blogs her ordeal. Abu Salamah, who studies in Turkey, tweets:
Dear #RafahBorder crossing, you’ve left me out of energy to do anything, out of relief, always anxious, sleepless. Set me free! Let me out.
On her blog, she explains:
I have tried many times to write about my experience at the closed Rafah border crossing with Egypt that has left thousands of people in Gaza stranded. Every time I start, a deep sigh comes over me. Shortly after I feel paralyzed, and finish by tearing apart my draft. I have never found it this difficult to write about a personal experience. No words can capture all the suffering and pain our people in Gaza deal with collectively under this suffocating, inhumane Israeli-Egyptian siege.
As I write, I am supposed to be somewhere in the sky, among the clouds, flying to Istanbul to begin my graduate studies. But I could not catch my flight, as I am still trapped in the besieged Gaza Strip, sitting in darkness during the power cuts caused by fuel crisis, trying to squeeze out my thoughts during what is left of my laptop’s charge.
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