Asim Rafiqui

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"So you can just walk across into Egypt?"<br />
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I had come to Mahmud Ankah's home to learn about the death of one of his relatives, killed during an Israeli military strike in the Beit Lahiya camp. Throughout my interview with his family members he had sat at the back of the room and listened. A good-looking 18-year-old, dressed in designer jeans and sporting a baseball cap, he had entered the room without fuss and quietly placed himself in a corner. <br />
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Later when he approached me I thought that he may want to speak about his experiences of the conflict. Instead he plied me with questions about traveling to different countries and in particular, about the process of walking across an international border.<br />
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For the next hour I told him tales of my experiences with customs officials, immigration bureaucracies, conflict borders manned by armed gunmen and the many mishaps and travesties I have faced while traveling the world. His excitement could not have been less had I told him about alien life on other planets!