To Create Something from Nothing
By MATS SVENSSON
(Former Swedish diplomat working on the staff of SIDA, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency)
"Mavivi comes from South Africa and is for the first time in Gaza to speak with women's organisations, students, civil servants and political fractions. For 18 years she was part of the struggle against apartheid.
There are those who never understand despite having seen everything and having access to all knowledge. And there are those who only need a few hours to understand. Mavivi belongs to the second category.
I saw when Mavivi cried for the first time. Mavivi had then been in Gaza for less than 24 hours. During a day, she had spoken to 30 representatives from several women's organisations. She stands outside the hotel and looks out over the Mediterranean when she spontaneously exclaims, "South Africa was a picnic compared to the situation here."
24 hours later, she cries openly for the second time. She has spoken with doctors, architects, teachers, everyone who tries to create a tolerable situation for the masses inhabiting the Gaza Strip. Again she compares South Africa with Israel/Palestine--"apartheid was stupidity, but here one has sophisticated the stupidity."
But it is when she cannot keep her tears back for the third time that many should have had the opportunity to listen to her. She stands and leans against the wall in Abu Dis. Presses on it as if she would like to tear it down. The wall that soon will shut out 29,500 people from Jerusalem forever. She says, "Someone has taken the cheese (Palestine) and left the holes (Ramallah, Hebron, Gaza, Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem, Qalqiliya), but the holes are empty and someone thinks that one can create something out of nothing. Who believes that?"......"