First Thoughts on
On Entering Gaza via the Rafah
As part of
the Convoy to
Gaza when we arrived through the
Rafah crossing terminal after a tenuous journey up through the Sinai with the assistance of one tank and two
armoured vehicles one of the participants gave us a piece of paper and asked us to write down how we felt
before entering Gaza exercise was to write some words on our first impressions on
Despite feeling tired from a lack of sleep and concern we would even arrive in Gaza at
So now that I have been here a couple of days here are my thoughts.
First I wasn't really prepared for the huge degradation done to the people of Gaza in the form of
damaged to infrastructure buildings and so on.. Nor was I prepared for the huge amount of refugees living in
atrocious conditions without proper food, water and basic lack of any amenities or human rights.
To say there country is under siege is an understatement of the highest proportions. As they say
here in the west you really could not make this shit up!
On the first day we met a family who had been the victims of a phosphorous attack and then met
another farming family whose original house remains as a memorial to the atrocities that Israel has done to
thousands of people here. Words cannot express how you feel and what words of comfort can you give to a
family whose daughter was burnt alive and then as she ran out of the building carrying one of her children
whom she was still nursing and then her lifeless body run over by an Israeli bulldozer.
In the short time here I have
spoken to many victims from a 96 year old woman with dementia and cataracts wondering around barefoot in
rubble with a walking frame to the child burns victim Farah Abu
Halima who clearly has the most
advanced complex PTSD and cowers in the corner as interviewers try and re-tell her story again and again.
Everyone has a story, and despite all the “smiley happy faces” and amazing spirit that clearly shines through
the eyes of the children and adults of Gaza everyone has a deep sense of pain and
After doing a brief talk on remaining sensitive to the needs of victims during filming or
interviewing them about their stories one person who lives here commented that if anyone in Gaza says they do
not have trauma they are telling lies. More than 90 per cent of the population suffered from complex post
traumatic stress. With an estimated population of around 1.7 million people, half of which are
What hope is there for Gaza?
Now that the border with Egypt has been closed yet again due to the recent unrest there is already
more added tension, fuel supplies are low and it goes without saying how difficult it must be to live here
not just for a couple of weeks but a whole lifetime.
As I write this post I can hear the sound of a car driving past with music playing out. Nearby is
the sound of the sea and children playing in the water as the sun goes down and yet despite the daily threats
to locals, fisherman and constant intimidation by Israeli warships as they pass by they remain hopeful that
one day there will be an end to their suffering.
Its imperative that the world starts to wake up these atrocities and grow themselves a conscience.
In the meantime what else can I say except welcome to Gaza.