15 JANUARY 2009


During these catastrophic times in Gaza, most of our colleagues at U.N.R.W.A. stood out as heroes of human solidarity. Doctors who strived to treat an overwhelming number of patients doubled as drivers to deliver basic food. Teachers whose schools were closed doubled as nurses. Aid workers doubled their work. Although none of them has been paid since December, all of them risked their lives every moment of every day above and beyond the call of duty. The senior representative on the ground doubled as an emergency information officer. There was no safe haven in Gaza. The U.N. flag was no guarantee of survival. Yet they displayed the true U.N. culture of dedication and sacrifice -- a longstanding culture that some transients in New York are not capable to comprehend let alone match.

To U.N.R.W.A. Commissioner General Karen AbuZayd, a U.S. citizen in a most vulnerable position, our admiration for her steadfast stand during the first nine days in Gaza and as she left to raise funds and awareness abroad. To the dignified and efficient Director of Operations John Ging, our gratitude for doubling as an enlightened press officer and keeping his calm, cool and collected head when many others are losing it and blaming one another. To every one in UNRWA Gaza, of all ranks, international and local, a special tribute.