We Want Our Real Lives Back: For Gazans, Egypt Is Safe, but Its Not Home

In Gaza, they owned olive trees, flower gardens, factories, stores and homes they had built and tended for decades.They had memories bound up in family photos, in knickknacks, in embroidered shawls.

They had cars to drive, classes to attend, the beach minutes away.Now, in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, where tens of thousands of Palestinians have fled, they find themselves in rented apartments overlooking concrete.They have few job prospects, dwindling savings and no schools for the children — a new world they know is safe, but hardly feels like a future.Without legal status in Egypt or clarity about when Gaza might again offer a semblance of normal life, most are stuck: unable to build lives, try their luck in a third country or plan on returning home.Physically, the Palestinians are in Egypt.

Mentally, they are holding on to the memory of a Gaza that no longer exists.“We have this feeling that this is just a temporary period in our lives,” said Nahla al-Bashti, 60, who arrived in Egypt with her family from Gaza in December.Desperate for income, she recently began selling pomegranate molasses and other Palestinian foods from her tiny rented kitchen, missing all the while the fruit trees in her old yard.“We want our real lives back,” she said.

“I feel suffocated.”...

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Publisher: The New York Times

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