Palestinian physician active in medical relief efforts in the Gaza Strip. Among many other activities, El-Farra heads the Rachel Corrie Children’s Center in Gaza and writes a well-regarded blog, "From Gaza, with Love," that has attracted attention from journalists, activists, and academics around the world.
Dr. Mona El-Farra was born in Khan Younis, Gaza. Her family owned land in Gaza for about 900 years. In her lifetime, however, this land was confiscated by Israel and her family’s home was demolished. After obtaining her medical degree, she dedicated her life to working for relief in the Gaza Strip. Today, among many activities, she works as a physician in Northern Gaza.
Some of her relief work includes creating programs that combine health services with community and cultural recreation services. She implements these programs as the Director of Gaza Projects for the Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA). El-Farra is also a health development consultant for the Union of Health Work Committees in Gaza and Vice President of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Gaza.
El-Farra heads the Rachel Corrie Children’s Center, which is also in Gaza. The center is a project of the Union of Health Work Committees and is named after Rachel Corrie, an American activist who was killed by an Israeli Caterpillar bulldozer while protecting a home in Gaza from demolition. The Children’s Center provides a haven for the children from the ongoing war and violence surrounding them. El-Farra explains that the violence in Gaza has devastating effects on both the children and the future prospects for peace.
"[Israeli] aggression will leave psychological scars on the children for years to come," El-Farra commented in the newspaper article "My Life in Gaza," published in the Boston Globe on July 10, 2006. "Instilling fear, anger and loss in them will not bring peace and security to Israelis."
The center also provides computer and internet services to the children so that they can communicate with the outside world. El-Farra states that the importance of this communication is to show the children of Gaza that there are international solidarity networks with the Palestinian peoples, " …. to grow up knowing that there are still in the world a place for people who respect justice and who are fighting to see the world full of justice, not hate and injustice." (Democracy Now! Interview with Mona El-Farra, by Amy Goodman, October 18, 2006.)
El-Farra’s work extends beyond medical relief work. She is a human rights and women’s rights activist. She releases reports on the internet about the deterioration of health services in light of Israeli aggression in Gaza and the lack of resources. She has written for The Boston Globe, Le Monde Dipolimatique, The LA Times, and The Guardian. She also has been interviewed for Democracy Now! and the BBC.
In addition, her blog, "From Gaza, with Love," has attracted attention from journalists, activists, and academics around the world. Currently, El-Farra is co-authoring a book with Noam Chomsky. El-Farra writes about Gaza from different perspectives: as a physician, as a mother, daughter, and civilian. She reports on deaths, malnutrition, contaminated waters, lack of medicine, and the deterioration of health for the Palestinian people. She also talks about the effects of the Israeli aggression against Gaza on her children, and her separation from her mother and other family members, especially during the summer of 2006.
"Though we do not now live with ease, we live with resolve," El-Farra said in the Boston Globe article "My Life in Gaza." "Until the world pressures Israel to recognize our rights in our land, and to pursue a peace that brings freedom and security to Israelis and Palestinians, we both will continue to pay the price."
To visit Dr. El-Farra's web site "From Gaza, with Love" see: http://www.fromgaza.blogspot.com/.
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Kathleen McQuillen on the Federal Budget and Palestine-Israel