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First Thoughts on Gaza

On Entering Gaza via the Rafah Crossing 

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 Gaza.



Despite feeling tired from a lack of sleep and concern we would even arrive in Gaza at all.

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 suffering.

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 children.

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. 




Hummingbirds of Gaza

"Like the hummingbird the people of Gaza are given no choice but to adapt swiftly to ever changing situations which includes having their houses destroyed, human rights violations and dealing with trauma every single day. The Palestinian people and those in Gaza retain the true spirit of the Hummingbird by remaining joyful, compassionate and sensitive in the face of extreme adversity."

- Sarah -


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