Celebrating International Women’s Day with the Women of Gaza

by ANN WRIGHT

Five years ago in March, 2009, only two months after the 22 day Israeli attack on Gaza, I was on an international delegation of sixty women organized by CODEPINK who traveled to Gaza for International Women’s Day. In the week in Gaza, we met with women where their homes used to be before they were destroyed by the Israeli attack that killed 1450, wounded 5,000 and left 50,000 homeless.  We also met with women in 13 community centers throughout the country, to listen to their stories of life under attack and under siege.

Five years later, I joined an international delegation of 100 women from 7 countries to travel to Gaza in solidarity with the women of Gaza for International Women’s Day.  Women of Gaza are over 50 percent of the 1.7 million people who live in tiny Gaza.  As they care for their families, they face extreme circumstances with daily attacks from the Israeli military, lack of electricity and water, environmental disasters of sewage flooding into the streets, and a lack of basic necessities.

Hundreds of tunnels under the border with Egypt that previously brought food and supplies denied by the Israelis in their land blockade of Gaza, have been destroyed by the Government of Egypt, reportedly to prevent weapons smuggling by militant groups. Travel in and out of Gaza through the Egyptian border for medical treatment, education and family visits to relatives around the world has become even more difficult have in the past. The Egyptian border with Gaza now has been closed for 28 consecutive days and was only opened once in February for a number of pilgrims to Mecca to return.

Palestinians who have never been charged with a crime, never seen the inside of a court are now treated as convicted prisoners  in the “open air prison” called Gaza— the walls on all sides of the prison, the Israeli land and sea blockades on three sides and the Egyptian blockade on one side,  are closing tighter and tighter.

It is because of those conditions in the lives of women of Gaza, that our delegation wanted to join women in Gaza to show our concern and solidarity as women-to let them know we have not forgotten them.

Today, on International Women’s Day, 16 of our 100 delegates are celebrating International Women’s Day in Cairo, Egypt, not Gaza.  However, 62 of our delegates were refused entry into Egypt by immigration authorities and are sending their greetings from their home countries of France, Belgium, the United States, Algeria, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Australia. 22 of the 100 initial delegates decided at the last minute not fly to Egypt, including Djamila Bouhired, the 79 year old Algerian independence icon.

unnamed

Photo of in Cairo of French, Swiss and American delegates of the International Women’s Delegation to Gaza.

Our message on International Women’s Day to the women of Gaza is:

We, the International Women’s Delegation to Gaza, greet you on International Women’s Day.

Although we can never know your suffering as you feel it, we hold you in our hearts, and pledge to you our continuing, ever-deepening solidarity. We will tell your story to all who will listen.

We will tell your story to our Parliamentary and Congressional representatives so they can better understand the injustice they support and the suffering they cause by the billions of dollars they send to Israel and Egypt.

Our sisters who were not allowed even to enter Egypt have a strong additional motive for solidarity.

We celebrate International Women’s Day in different parts of the world, but our hearts and our perseverance in the struggle make us one.

Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel.  She spent 16 years in the US Diplomat Corps and served in US Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.  She resigned from the US State Department in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq.  She has traveled to Gaza six times since 2009 and was on the two Gaza Freedom Flotillas and was an organizer for the 2009 Gaza Freedom March that brought 1300 persons from 55 countries to Cairo to travel in solidarity with the people of Gaza (only 100 were allowed to travel to Gaza).

 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire