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 No Checkpoints in Heaven......  I still vividly remember my father’s face - wrinkled, order cheap etodolac apprehensive, order cheap etodolac warm - as he last wished me farewell fourteen years ago. Order cheap etodolac He stood outside the rusty door of my family’s home in a Gaza refugee camp wearing old yellow pyjamas and a seemingly ancient robe. Order cheap etodolac As I hauled my one small suitcase into a taxi that would take me to an Israeli airport an hour away, order cheap etodolac my father stood still. Order cheap etodolac I wished he would go back inside; it was cold and the soldiers could pop up at any moment. Order cheap etodolac As my car moved on, order cheap etodolac my father eventually faded into the distance, order cheap etodolac along with the graveyard, order cheap etodolac the water tower and the camp. Order cheap etodolac It never occurred to me that I would never see him again. I think of my father now as he was that day. Order cheap etodolac His tears and his frantic last words: “Do you have your money? Your passport? A jacket? Call me the moment you get there. Order cheap etodolac Are you sure you have your passport? Just check, order cheap etodolac one last time…” My father was a man who always defied the notion that one can only be the outcome of his circumstance. Order cheap etodolac Expelled from his village at the age of 10, order cheap etodolac running barefoot behind his parents, order cheap etodolac he was instantly transferred from the son of a landowning farmer to a penniless refugee in a blue tent provided by the United Nations in Gaza. Order cheap etodolac Thus, order cheap etodolac his life of hunger, order cheap etodolac pain, order cheap etodolac homelessness, order cheap etodolac freedom-fighting, order cheap etodolac love, order cheap etodolac marriage and loss commenced. The fact that he was the one chosen to quit school to help his father provide for his now tent-dwelling family was a huge source of stress for him. Order cheap etodolac In a strange, order cheap etodolac unfamiliar land, order cheap etodolac his new role was going into neighbouring villages and refugee camps to sell gum, order cheap etodolac aspirin and other small items. Order cheap etodolac His legs were a testament to the many dog bites he obtained during these daily journeys. Order cheap etodolac Later scars were from the shrapnel he acquired through war. As a young man and soldier in the Palestinian unit of the Egyptian army, order cheap etodolac he spent years of his life marching through the Sinai desert. Order cheap etodolac When the Israeli army took over Gaza following the Arab defeat in 1967, order cheap etodolac the Israeli commander met with those who served as police officers under Egyptian rule and offered them the chance to continue their services under Israeli rule. Order cheap etodolac Proudly and willingly, order cheap etodolac my young father chose abject poverty over working under the occupier’s flag. Order cheap etodolac And for that, order cheap etodolac predictably, order cheap etodolac he paid a heavy price. Order cheap etodolac His two-year-old son died soon after. My oldest brother is buried in the same graveyard that bordered my father’s house in the camp. Order cheap etodolac My father, order cheap etodolac who couldn’t cope with the thought that his only son died because he couldn’t afford to buy medicine or food, order cheap etodolac would be found asleep near the tiny grave all night, order cheap etodolac or placing coins and candy in and around it. My father’s reputation as an intellectual, order cheap etodolac his obsession with Russian literature, order cheap etodolac and his endless support of fellow refugees brought him untold trouble with the Israeli authorities, order cheap etodolac who retaliated by denying him the right to leave Gaza. Order cheap etodolac His severe asthma, order cheap etodolac which he developed as a teenager was compounded by lack of adequate medical facilities. Order cheap etodolac Yet, order cheap etodolac despite daily coughing streaks and constantly gasping for breath, order cheap etodolac he relentlessly negotiated his way through life for the sake of his family. Order cheap etodolac On one hand, order cheap etodolac he refused to work as a cheap labourer in Israel. Order cheap etodolac “Life itself is not worth a shred of one’s dignity, order cheap etodolac” he insisted. Order cheap etodolac On the other, order cheap etodolac with all borders sealed except that with Israel, order cheap etodolac he still needed a way to bring in an income. Order cheap etodolac He would buy cheap clothes, order cheap etodolac shoes, order cheap etodolac used TVs, order cheap etodolac and other miscellaneous goods, order cheap etodolac and find a way to transport and sell them in the camp. Order cheap etodolac He invested everything he made to ensure that his sons and daughter could receive a good education, order cheap etodolac an arduous mission in a place like Gaza. But when the Palestinian uprising of 1987 exploded, order cheap etodolac and our camp became a battleground between stone-throwers and the Israeli army, order cheap etodolac mere survival became Dad’s new obsession. Order cheap etodolac Our house was the closest to the Red Square, order cheap etodolac arbitrarily named for the blood spilled there, order cheap etodolac and also bordered the ‘Martyrs’ Graveyard’. Order cheap etodolac How can a father adequately protect his family in such surroundings? Israeli soldiers stormed our house hundreds of times; it was always him who somehow held them back, order cheap etodolac begging for his children’s safety, order cheap etodolac as we huddled in a dark room awaiting our fate. Order cheap etodolac “You will understand when you have your own children, order cheap etodolac” he told my older brothers as they protested his allowing the soldiers to slap his face. Order cheap etodolac Our ‘freedom-fighting’ dad struggled to explain how love for his children could surpass his own pride. Order cheap etodolac He grew in my eyes that day. It’s been fourteen years since I last saw my father. Order cheap etodolac As none of his children had access to isolated Gaza, order cheap etodolac he was left alone to fend for himself. Order cheap etodolac We tried to help as much as we could, order cheap etodolac but what use is money without access to medicine? In our last talk he said he feared he would die before seeing my children, order cheap etodolac but I promised that I would find a way. Order cheap etodolac I failed. Since the siege on Gaza, order cheap etodolac my father’s life became impossible. Order cheap etodolac His ailments were not ‘serious’ enough for hospitals crowded with limbless youth. Order cheap etodolac During the most recent Israeli onslaught, order cheap etodolac most hospital spaces were converted to surgery wards, order cheap etodolac and there was no place for an old man like my dad. Order cheap etodolac All attempts to transfer him to the better equipped West Bank hospitals failed as Israeli authorities repeatedly denied him the required permit. “I am sick, order cheap etodolac son, order cheap etodolac I am sick, order cheap etodolac” my father cried when I spoke to him two days before his death. Order cheap etodolac He died alone on March 18, order cheap etodolac waiting to be reunited with my brothers in the West Bank. Order cheap etodolac He died a refugee, order cheap etodolac but a proud man nonetheless. My father’s struggle began 60 years ago, order cheap etodolac and it ended a few days ago. Order cheap etodolac Thousands of people descended to his funeral from throughout Gaza, order cheap etodolac oppressed people that shared his plight, order cheap etodolac hopes and struggles, order cheap etodolac accompanying him to the graveyard where he was laid to rest. Order cheap etodolac Even a resilient fighter deserves a moment of peace. -Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. Order cheap etodolac His work has been published in many newspapers and journals worldwide. Order cheap etodolac His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press, order cheap etodolac London).