I'll be reporting from Gaza for Revolution and beyond, and I'm going to use this blog to share news as it happens, bounce my thoughts off of you, and pose questions that I'm investigating or thinking about. So, here we go with missive #1…
Preparing for the trip has been inspiring, and eye opening. I've had a chance to meet dozens of people from the U.S. who are going – religious activists (including Muslims and Jews), people from the Middle East, activists who have been protesting Israel's crimes against the Palestinians for years, and a significant number of college students – many of them women.
It's very heartening to hear people from the U.S., from many walks of life, talk about their motivation to brave dangers and make this trip. The courageous example of Rachel Corrie came up at an orientation meeting, and that is a factor that inspires people. In future postings, I'll be sharing more about the people going, and their motivations and stories. There are, of course, lively and intense discussions, exchanges and disagreements among those going over politics, religion, culture and our various understandings of the foundational factors and causes that have led to the intolerable situation in Gaza – even as we all oppose the blockade of Gaza and stand in solidarity with the people there (the march as a whole takes no position on the current Gaza administration).
I've also had a chance to network with, and get valuable advice from artists and writers with ties to and deep knowledge of the Middle East – including an influential artist in the region whose work explores with sensitivity the experiences of women discovering sexuality, the oppression of women, and homosexuality – not topics one might associate with popular culture in the Middle East these days. I'm curious to learn more about what this represents.
Finally – and importantly -- I want to make you all aware that our trip depends on the Egyptian authorities allowing us to enter Gaza. This will be touch-and-go until we cross the border. Those going are mobilizing public opinion in Egypt, and around the world, to create a climate where the Egyptian authorities do not impede or delay us. If there are well known or influential people among those reading this posting, or people who know such people, letters to the Egyptian government affirming the importance of allowing our delegation expeditious and unhindered crossing into Gaza will be helpful, maybe critical. Those letters can be emailed to me, and I will make them available to the march organizers, or they can be sent to the march's Government Liaison and Logistics coordinator in Gaza/Egypt -- Ann Wright -- at email@example.com.