Also, the latest from Tales to Tell. The writer was assisting medics during the war on Gaza. She is talking about the lives of some of the people she worked with and knows.
We have very much enjoyed our course and our teachers, who have found time for us in amongst their long hours and low pay (if any, many medics are volunteers) and Red Crescent job cuts (it hardly seems the time, does it.) Two out of three of our teachers have been in Israeli prison, but then what Palestinian man hasn’t. One told us of coming back via Egypt, having gone outside with his wife to get medical treatment for his small son who has cerebral palsy, and being arrested as he entered Gaza, back when the border was more directly controlled by Israel and not ostensibly by Egypt.
He then spent 3 years in prison, a lot of it sharing a small room with ten people; their sentences 25 years, 99 years. While he was in there, his father died, and his fourth child was born.
“What were you in prison for?” I asked.
“I don’t know exactly,” he said. “I think it was because we picked up a dead fighter in the ambulance, and I locked his gun temporarily in my office because the only other option was to leave it lying where we found him, which would have been irresponsible. Somehow they turned that into the accusation that I was selling weapons.”
Another teacher, when he was a teenager, was doing very well in high school and planned to study medicine in Turkey, but then was picked up for throwing stones at soldiers (in David-and-Goliath tradition, except for stones thrown by lads other than David usually being completely ineffective, since soldiers wear body armour). He was imprisoned as punishment, and banned from leaving Gaza. So he never did become a doctor.
I went to visit the Jordanian Field Hospital yesterday, in my quest to find some help for two children C met during the war, who need kidney transplants. Everything was set up for them to travel to France, back in January, but Egypt wouldn’t let them out. Kidney transplants can’t be done in Gaza, and infuriatingly, neither can tissue typing, from what I’ve found out so far. That’s how you find out who your donors can be. Even if we get permission for the kids and their donors to go out for surgery, how do they know who to take with them to be the donors, without knowing who is medically compatible? Anyway, further communication with the Jordanian folks might allow us to make some progress. Read more.