Tala Abu Nahleh received a scholarship and studied in the United States and Beirut. Photo: Collected by Tala AbuEgypt has announced the opening of the Rafah crossing to evacuate dual nationals and the seriously injured. Last Wednesday, 76 wounded Palestinians and 335 foreign passport holders entered Egypt. In addition to 31 Austrians, four Italians and five French nationals, the Egyptian government said several German nationals were among them.
Thousands more are waiting at the Rafah crossing to escape the war-torn Gaza. Tala Abu Nahleh failed to cross this crossing for the third time. His mother is a Jordanian citizen. Tala’s family was told by the Jordanian embassy to go to the Rafah crossing.
Tala’s brother, 15-year-old Yazid, is unable to walk and often suffers from seizures. He needs a wheelchair to move from one place to another. Hospitals in Gaza have run out of all the medicine he needs. Meanwhile, his condition is further deteriorating due to the bombings.
In an interview given to the BBC, Tala said that since the escalation of tensions in Gaza, Yazid became very scared. His seizures also worsened.
Talai is the sole earner in a family of six. He received a scholarship and studied in the United States and Beirut, Lebanon. A self-confident and articulate character, Talai will be the family’s only support even across the Gaza border.
Tala said, ‘We are trying to survive, not sure if we can. But we are making every effort to survive. Because I don’t want to die at the age of 24.’
Borderlands are places where definitions of ‘destiny’ differ. Fate here means dealing with bombings, hunger and water shortages.
Fate there means leaving behind loved ones, those who don’t have foreign passports or who aren’t too injured to evacuate or who are caught in a fire and who can’t reach the border. Only a small fraction of Gaza’s 2.2 million people will be able to cross through the Rafah crossing.
Mona is an Australian citizen by marriage. He came alone to the border. He is terrified of his family trapped in Gaza.
Mona told the BBC: ‘I’m not happy at all. Because I’m leaving another part of me. My brothers and sisters and whole family are still in Gaza. I pray they are safe. The situation there is very dire and dangerous.’
Many people crowd in front of the paper hanging on the window at the Gaza border. That paper contains the names of those allowed to leave Gaza. Many eager eyes have gathered to see the names of themselves and their families in this list. Their families are waiting for release in a small room next door.
Last Wednesday, 400 foreign nationals and wounded people were able to leave Gaza and enter Egypt for the first time since the opening of the Rafah crossing.
At the end of the day, Tala Abu Nahleh realized that his family was not so lucky. After the glimmer of hope faded, they returned to their darkened apartment. Due to lack of electricity connection, their surroundings are plunged in darkness.
In a video message sent to the BBC, Tala said she no longer knows how to feel. There was concern in his voice and face.
Tala said, ‘After we came back there was no electricity, no food, no water and even no water for cleaning. In a few days my brother’s medicine will run out and we are still stuck here. The night has passed. I don’t know if we will live till tomorrow or not, but we hope to live.’