Living Behind the Walls of a Police State
Millions of people will never experience the world beyond their immediate surroundings. When a government tightens its stranglehold on the population, one of the first casualties is the right to travel.
During the Cold War, the world sympathized with the plight of Soviet and Eastern European citizens. Millions of them were yearning to travel, to experience other cultures. They were trapped behind the Iron Curtain.
It’s been almost twenty years since the Soviet Union collapsed. There’s gradually been more and more autonomy and freedom in Russia, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics.
But unfortunately there are still some countries where the citizens are trapped behind a wall — unable to leave for any reason. Prisoners in their own country.
One and a half million residents of the Gaza Strip are locked in. They can’t leave, and nobody and nothing gets in except for international humanitarian aid. Ever since Hamas came to power almost a year ago, Israel has kept the border locked up tight. Nobody can leave without getting an exit visa from the Israeli government, and the Israelis aren’t issuing any. The Israeli government is hoping to weaken Hamas’ power by keeping the borders completely sealed.
Eight Palestinian students from the Gaza Strip have received Fulbright Scholarships to study in the United States. Sorry, no dice. None of them are eligible to get an exit visa. And the United States has cooperated with their Israeli puppetmasters by canceling the eight Fulbright Scholarships.
From my naïve standpoint — but what do I know — it would seem that allowing Palestinians to travel would be the best way to defuse the hatred and violence that have rocked the Middle East for sixty years. Somebody who has traveled and/or studied at a foreign university would be the least likely to support the ongoing xenophobia and terrorism.
Israel is reinforcing the tension and hatred by keeping Gaza residents locked in. Everybody loses.
cross-posted at Bring It On!