Thursday, June 7, 2007

Children of Gaza

Recently I have realized that I take my childhood for granted.

These days children in Gaza are finishing their final exams. The summer has finally arrived, but I wonder what tidings it will bring for most children? Few news outlets have reported statements made by the Israeli deputy prime minister calling for Israel to shut off water and electricity to the Gaza Strip. In Gaza everyone is mentioning it, for the rest of the world this is not news.

Last Wednesday two boys were in the North of the Gaza Strip hunting birds with nets. They were shot and killed by Israeli army snipers at the border. The boys were no older than 12. My friend Wessam who is a photographer was called to the scene by one of the ambulance drivers that tried to come to their rescue, but it was already too late.

Abu Salim, a friend of mine recently told me that his children have learned to hit the floor once they hear any form of gunfire or explosions. With Israeli tanks near by and planes flying overhead they have spent many nights recently sleeping on the ground. It’s safer there.

My friend Mohamed from Biddo, a village near Ramallah says he has not seen the sea for 15 years. When his son asks him why they can’t go, he doesn’t know what to say. Jamal in Gaza is afraid of taking his kids to the beach near his house because last summer a whole family was murdered there by shells from an Israeli navy ship.

Children in Gaza are sort of like animals in a zoo. They eat and drink what they are given, their cage is always closed and there is only so much they can do and only so far they can go inside this little space.

It doesn’t really matter if its winter or summer.