Laila el Haddad and children, Denied Entry to Gaza, Held 36 hours, Deported to U.S.
April 10, 2009 by emmarosenthal
“I am the only one here because I cannot go home- you are all being deported home, I am denied home”
-Laila el Haddad
Laila el Haddad’s Update
After 36 hours of being held at Cairo Airport, where she was repeatedly
interrogated and given contradictory information as to what would
happen, Laila el Haddad and her two children are now being deported to
the US via London. They were put on a flight at 7 a.m. this morning.
Laila's US visa has expired, so it is likely that the family's ordeal is
not yet over.
Noor and Yousuf appear to be fine as far as the situation allows, but
the family is exhausted.
Here are Laila's latest posts.
thank you everyone for your support- I thought I could get in, I
exhausted all options. They said I needed security clearance (to go home)
i don't think I have ever gone such a long stretch with no sleep. I am
beginning to halluciate.
getting ready for deportation trip back to US via London. should be
interesting explaining this to US immigration. the saga continues.
i was asked by men in holding cell what I did to be in there, I said "I
was born Palestinian"
favorite line by egyptian mockiccer: "honestly, we did not get any sleep
over your orrdeal, we feel for you, really we do"unfortunately could not
film there; though could have tried to hide my flip. oh well.
I told everyone in the detention room I am the only one here because I
cannot go home- you are all being deported home, I am denied home
then they said "its very uncomfortable isn't it? we do'nt mind keeping
you there you know"
took my laptop and cameras; everyone was called on by country; 5 south
asians were "Pakistan"; Guneaian was "Kenya"; another was Indonesia i
was placed in a detention room with 17 others for 3 hours then taken to
a room and asked "if that's what I wanted for the forseable future
Laila and her children Yousuf and Noor have been stuck at Cairo airport
since around 10a.m. Laila’s family and friends have tried to contact
anyone they could think of to get them to help. At one point, the
Egyptian foreign minister and the Palestinian Minister of Interior were
involved, but it seems they were unable to let her out of the airport.
Though Egyptian authorities apparently continue threatening the three
with deportation to the US and in fact said they wanted her out of the
airport tonight, airport staff has also asked whether she would like
them to build a shelter for them at the airport. The three are bracing
themselves for a longer stay.
Laila’s visa for the US has ended and she was planning to renew her visa
in Beirut, where she was going to meet her husband, a US citizen and a
Palestinian refugee who is denied his right to return to Palestine by
Israel. Before going to Beirut, Laila wanted to visit her home in Gaza.
Since Israeli authorities have closed all points of entry to the Gaza
Strip under its control, the only route to Gaza left for Laila is
through the Egyptian side of Rafah. Rafah is also temporarily closed,
and apparently Egyptian authorities have been claiming that they had
orders not to allow Palestinian residents into the country as long as
Rafah is closed. Laila is carrying a letter signed by the Egyptian
consulate in the US explaining that she is travelling to renew her visa,
but Egyptian authorities at Cairo airport are unimpressed. According to
Laila, they told her “So sue him!”
Laila’s daughter Noor is one year old, Yousuf is five years old.
Laila el Haddad, is the writer of the blog, Raising Yussef and Nour