Slow goes the caravan

Finding a way from Delhi to Gaza.

On a chilly morning in December 2010, I received a call. The schedule of the Asia-to-Gaza Solidarity Caravan had been altered, I was told, and instead we were to set off, that very morning, from Rajghat. We would be heading west, towards Pakistan, even though our Pakistani visas had not yet come through. Needless to say, this was an unsettling way to kick off our journey, organised to express the solidarity of the people of Asia – the caravan had representatives from Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Tajikistan and Turkey – with those of Palestine against occupation and imperialism.

As we went forward, it became clear that the Islamabad government was refusing to grant us visas. As such, we activated Plan B: a few of us were granted conditional visas to go up to Lahore to symbolically register their presence, while the rest took the first flight to Tehran from New Delhi. We then travelled by another flight to the town of Zahedan, on the Iran-Pakistan border, before formally beginning our road journey.

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Himal Southasian