In Palestine, Basheer Mohammed Nasir wants to marry Amani Kamal Qassab. The couple has known each other for over two years, but they’ve been separated most of that time and it’s not your traditional long-distance thing. She’s in Gaza and he’s in the West Bank. They are divided by a broad swath of Israel, and deterred from reuniting by a deluge of unfinished permit paper work, most of which is out of their hands. In an NPR article, Basheer describes traveling to Gaza in 2006 for the Palestinian elections, where he met Amani and fell in love over a three month courtship. When Basheer returned to the West Bank, he built a home for Amani to come to. Instead, in 2007, the Palestinian political and religious group, Hamas, seized power from the more secular Palestinian group Fatah. Suddenly, permission for Amani to travel became virtually impossible to obtain. Amani says they’re on the phone together all day while they wait to be together, but she laments the “virtual marriage” which has suspended her in a limbo without the house, husband and children she’d planned for. The concepts of Hamas, Fatah and Palestinian geography have always been elusive to me, so this is an excellent but sad lesson to further my understanding.
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