The very day the Trump Administration perturbed the world with its designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announcement that the United States would soon move its embassy there, Dr. Mona El-Farra, a physician from Gaza City and director of Gaza Projects for the Middle Eastern Children’s Alliance (MECA), spoke to a packed hall in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The event had long been scheduled by Santa Feans for Justice in Palestine, a group which has adopted as its sister city the Gazan town of Khuza’a. In collaboration with MECA, it has provided humanitarian support to rebuild a kindergarten destroyed in Israel’s 2014 bombing attacks, and supplied water filtration systems in the schools. Though it had taken her six months to secure the travel visa—packing and unpacking her valise with clothes for summer, autumn and winter—the timing of her arrival was sublime.
Through the chaos, anger, and frustration provoked by the news that Jerusalem’s fate would be dictated by Washington, D.C., and not determined in a fairly negotiated settlement, Dr. Mona, as she is affectionately called by her many admirers in the movement for Palestinian liberation, remained unflappable. She remained calm even as members of Santa Fe Middle East Watch, a group that says it counters “anti-Israel propaganda,” caused a minor ruckus. As others quieted the intruders, she spoke softly of difficult things experienced firsthand—the demolition of her mother’s home, which felt like “a wiping out of her childhood memories” and an even more tragic family catastrophe that occurred during Israel’s 2014 Operation Protective Edge.
“On the first of August, nine members of my family were killed in a fraction of a second—my cousin, his two sons and daughter-in-law and five children in their pajamas,” El-Farra said. “All three generations destroyed, one of eighty-nine such families completely wiped out.”
Read the interview at THE PROGRESSIVE