"I was especially shocked to hear that her family is sheltering in a storage room with 50 other families with no clean water, not enough food, or necessities and that some smugglers are asking 10,000 USD to cross the border."
December 7, 2023
Sheena Goodyear, Journalist, As It Happens, CBC
Sarah Jackson, Associate Producer, As It Happens, CBC
Dear Sheena Goodyear and Sarah Jackson,
I am writing to thank you for the As It Happens radio segment and report article: “Her parents, siblings and baby nephew are trapped in Gaza. Canada doesn’t consider them ʻimmediate family',” published on December 5 on CBC.
I cannot get over Israa Alsaafin's shaky voice talking about the struggles she faces to get her immediate family out of Gaza, the double standard in Canada's responses, and the harsh reality of being Palestinian.
I was especially shocked to hear that her family is sheltering in a storage room with 50 other families with no clean water, not enough food, or necessities and that some smugglers are asking 10,000 USD to cross the border.
It is reminiscent of the Syrian refugee crisis, which made your question relevant about the possibility of special rules that were in place for them, Ukrainians, and Afghan refugees for Palestinians.
Similarly, Israa's response that Palestinians are not wanted anywhere reminds us of the disillusionment Palestinians have had since 1948.
I found these words particularly poignant:
I am living the same disappointment, work hard to prove I'm a good person worthy of your support. I helped the government here when they [brought] the Syrian refugees, and they wanted people to speak Arabic and English. I was the first one there to volunteer. I did that with the Ukrainian people, and now it's just a lot for me to ask to save families there.
Thank you, Sheena Goodyear and all the As It Happens team, for giving space to Palestinian voices and their reality. I hope you will continue to do so.
Media Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East