In the continuing sunshine of the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama, Susan R. Benda, a DC-based lawyer, reflects on the embracing impact on her own son, a pre-teen raised by a single mom: “The doors of his imagination have swung open, and his sense of his place in the world has changed.” Doors of imagination, perception, and possibility swung open this week, personal doors that had stood closed for generations, that had been closed for so long many had forgotten they existed, had forgotten they were doors at all, many had come to accept the doors as walls, solid, immutable, opaque. People learned to open doors again, people learned to pass through again, people learned to cross thresholds again.
Some doors still remain closed, however, and they are called borders. This series, “Bordering on peace,” will offer stories concerning women pushing against the closed door common sense of nation and nationalism. We begin with four: Gaza, Mexico/United States, Zimbabwe, India/Pakistan. You are invited to contribute your own.
For Rewa Zeinati, Gaza is a place where only the dead are allowed to dream of peace:
(Gaza 2009, day 13)
A child’s head rests on the rubble
Hair plastered on her face, eyes closed,
Dreaming of peace that comes too late.
Peace that comes too late is defined by time. Time, in Gaza, has always been something different: “Time there does not take children from childhood to old age, but rather makes them men in their first confrontation with the enemy.” Peace comes too late because it has no passport, it has no papers, and so is blocked at the borders, the borders that only the Israelis manage, the borders that Israelis have controlled and sealed.
Time there makes children into men. And the women? Of course, women in Gaza have been devastated by the violence; the stories abound. But there’s another story, that of Palestinian women organizing as the rockets descend on their homes, as told by Islah Jad “Many women in Gaza have risked their lives to save the besieged ‘targeted’ groups in Gaza. Women, through their mass mobilization, managed to save many houses from being demolished by Israeli artillery. Women are mobilized to provide vital emergency services for women in Gaza, women are also active in the media and mass communication to make their voices heard against this war.” This war, like the ones before it, will end. But peace that comes too late will not be allowed across the borders, and the tunnels are being sealed.
[Tomorrow “Bordering on peace: the U.S. – Mexico border”]
Dan Moshenberg, email@example.com