Help! I'm 27 and I was born in a 25 mile long prison: a true story
Translated by a loving American friend:
My name is Ahmed, and I'm sad to tell you that was born in prison. Most of you reading this remember the year 1991, when I was born. However, unlike you, I've never been allowed to leave a small rectangular piece of land for my entire life. My prison is the world's largest: the Gaza Strip, Israel. I'm desperate to see outside; but it's illegal for me to leave. Like most people, I want to live a normal life. I need to escape with my young wife (age 24) and 2 small children.
The Gaza Strip is a tiny 25 mile long piece of land along the Mediterranean. The area now serves as an open-air prison to contain the children and grandchildren of the Palestinians rounded up in the not-so-long ago year of 1947. The round-up is referred to as the Nakba or “Catastrophe” in Arabic. Our “crime” was to own property that someone else wanted. Many families still have house keys and property titles with the hope they'll be allowed to return some day.
In Gaza, we are packed together very tightly; 3 times more tightly than Bejing, China! However, instead of natural economic productivity bringing us together, we are packed in by prison guards. There are miles of open land just outside our prison walls.
Like most prisons, nothing gets in or out. People aren't free to leave or enter. Military guards threaten all sides of Gaza, including a powerful Navy which destroys any boat more than 3 miles off our small beach. There are snipers surrounding the prison walls who shoot anyone coming near. This is the nature of our open-air prison.
In some ways, Gaza is even worse than a regular prison. In a regular prison, there are mostly criminals. Here in Gaza, most are innocent. Very few of the 1.85 million people here have ever committed a real crime. In a regular prison, the prisoners are given food, shelter, and clothing. Here in Gaza, we must fend for ourselves. We struggle for basic items like propane gas to cook a meal.
Airstrikes and naval artillery are a constant worry here. I don't support the fighting; I have a family to care for. I worry about my family being killed every day. Please understand I cannot control the politics of the situation or what other people do here.
There is only 1 way out of Gaza: money. The money covers fees to the Egyptian government and the Palestinian Authority. Passports, travel visas, and a “coordination” fee to use the Egyptian Rafah border crossing are very expensive. A modest travel stipend is also included. The total is $7,500 for 2 adults and 2 children.
There is no other way out. Our economy is destroyed by bombing and a military blockade, so earning the money is impossible. My only valuable is my cell phone, which is a lifesaving essential here.
My family needs your help to escape to Egypt. I ask you to take 2 minutes of your time and donate. I'm too young to spend the rest of my life in this dangerous prison.
Please help us buy our freedom. Thank you and God bless you.