Can I go?
I’m looking forward to home
Why did you come here?
Who sent you…
Can I go now…?
Go!! Get out of here. Move away…
Who brought you here?
How could you afford to come here?
Why did you come…
We know. But WHY?
Can I go?
Go. Don’t ever come back.
Come back and see…
The freedom of this democracy.
Why did you come THAT way?
Can they go, please?
No. Not them. There.
You can go.
But, please wait here.
Did you pack this?
What is this?
Here. Take your things.
But wait. Please.
Put this in that. Then, come here.
Can they come, please?
Who is it that you say that you are?
No. Not your name.
Where is your number?
Ah, but are you that person?
She is Palestinian.
Have you asked her name, perhaps?
Orange stickers everywhere.
No. You cannot take that. Her. She stays.
There. Behind that line.
No moving allowed.
Actually. Move out.
Yes. Go. Away.
“May you go in peace and return in peace!”*
Who did they think I was?
What did they see?
Who am I then?
No vest. Two backpacks, and a small booklet of pretty stamps. Canadian.
A small shell as keepsake.
A plastic star.
A marble of affirmation.
And coins clattering down to the corner of the grey tray. After the body search. Help me? She found my earring backing in the dust of the carpet.
What are your names? The 8 or more of you who tried to strip me bare?
You never asked mine.
I was, “Miss”.
And not Palestinian.
A ‘3’ last time. A ‘6’ this time. 6 is the highest security risk.
Palestinians: ‘6’ every time.
Read more here about this reality of the occupation.
*Actual greeting at the Zaytoun Checkpoint into East Jerusalem.
Ahh yes! the search and the questions. The lack of humanity, the impersonal and yest so very personal. I know t;his is such a strange and off the wall connection but I sometimes wonder if the gay male experience of bath house sex is a little like this except for the humiliation. They know that they have bought into this. Those going through checkpoints, no such acommodation. It will be good to have you home and to share you experiences with us Sherry Ann.
It would seem that the procedure was an unsuccessful attempt to throw you off balance. For what purpose? Perhaps to see if any ‘useful’ information could be shaken loose. However, as Nathaniel Branden said ‘self-esteem is the reputation we acquire with ourselves’. I am confident that your sense of self will allow you to rise above and beyond the negative feelings engendered by your treatment at passport control, Sherry Ann.
Mark Twain said ‘I can live for two months on a good compliment’. Your ability to enter into this accompaniment process, knowing that exactly what happened to you at the airport might come to pass is a tribute to your integrity, grit, determination, and compassion. We are indeed blessed to have you in our lives.
Great comment Rosemarie! I’m sure Sherry Ann appreciates an intelligent response. 🙂
Very powerful words and images, Sherry Ann. I look forward to hearing and seeing more as you unfold and take on new shape.
Thank you, Sherry Ann. That says so much more than a series of analytical paragraphs could.
As I near the time to leave Palestine/Israel, I begin to comprehend what Palestinians go through on a daily basis. For EA’s it is once at Ben Gurion. For them, constant.
This says it all. Thank you, SherryAnn.