The Palestine Entries: ‘There’s more to Gaza than broken slabs of concrete’ published on Electronic Intifada

// Entry #22

My impression of Palestine has changed tremendously since coming here just two weeks ago. The occupation exists, the siege gets tighter, the unemployment rate continues to rise, and the population still faces regular shellings, bombings, and shootings by the Israeli military. And then we label Palestinians as “resilient”. But they are so much more than that. They breathe, live, hope, and do all that they can to live a “First World” kind of life in a “Third World” country. Not only is it impressive, it’s inspirational, and we have a lot to learn.

I put together a piece for Electronic Intifada and, surprisingly, it was published! In all honesty, being published by the Electronic Intifada feels just as good as getting an A in organic chemistry.

Hope you enjoy it.

Update: The article is now featured as the Electronic Intifada’s front page flash video.

There’s more to Gaza than broken slabs of concrete

Sami Kishawi, The Electronic Intifada, Gaza City, 7 July 2011

Many of the people I’ve spoken to in Gaza City don’t object to foreign coverage of the Gaza Strip in the slightest. In fact, Gazans consider that media attention gives them an opportunity to put Palestine in the public eye.

But there is a certain level of resentment towards journalists that only grows whenever these efforts to inform the world fail to go beyond depressing reports on Palestine’s latest political tensions. The people of Gaza are well aware that these efforts fail to depict the full reality of Gaza’s quality of life. This is a failure that journalists must rectify for the sake of honest reporting.

Before being properly introduced to the family members and friends I haven’t met before — my family is originally from Gaza but I have never lived here — my bulky camera normally gives the impression that I’m just another journalist stationed in Gaza to report on the depression that we outsiders assume engulfs the entire territory. “You’re here to see buildings hit by missiles, right?” It’s a trick question. Secretly, yes I am, but that’s not all I want to see. I clarify that I’m not a journalist, that I’m a student visiting home, that the camera is for capturing all kinds of moments in Gaza, not just the heartbreaking ones. “Good,” they say.

An effervescent atmosphere

These brief introductions become extended conversations about what journalists fail to do in Gaza and what they fail to see or acknowledge in the territory’s undeniably effervescent atmosphere. Decades of occupation, years of siege, and intermittent invasions are typically employed as subject headers for most reporting about the Gaza Strip. But despite how these topics represent one very dominating aspect of life in Gaza, they inexcusably ignore the more uplifting aspects of reality including Gaza’s cultural vibrancy, its territory-wide coziness, and its population’s sheer resiliency in resisting the oppression that constantly befalls it.

Please read the full article here: There’s more to Gaza than broken slabs of concrete.


There are 2 comments

  1. Derwish

    So what’s the reason there is no peace in Gaza?

    Is it sadistic Israelis who are hell-bent on torturing the
    noble, dignified Gazans, no matter how much time, money,
    their lives and common sense is sacrificed for this pleasure?

    Or is it the righteous gentlemen of Hamas, who use their whole
    million of compatriots as hand-grenades, a mega-shield and
    weapon to beat Israel into apparent capitulation?

  2. Marc Letford

    nice article, good to show some hope and humanity. Hamas are what they have had to become and this article shows how easily they will be absorbed by a strong civil society once the aggressor is removed from the equation.

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