Regular folks in an irregular situation

I am supposed to be heading to Beit Hanoun in the morning, which is where Israel has been flagrantly breaking the November ceasefire agreement, by killing and wounding several farmers.  So tonight my blog will be just a collection of photos of regular Gazan folks who would be exceptional anywhere else in the world.

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A mother whose son is being held, using secret evidence, without charges or trial, in protective detention by the Israelis for months if not years.  She’s outside the Red Cross hoping for some sort of justice and support from the outside world.

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There’s more going on behind the veil, then most Westerners can comprehend.

Being a non-religious person, I don’t fully understand, nor support any State interference in the issue of Muslim womens coverings, either way.  But what I have seen here, is the ability of a women who does choose to cover herself, to not let it hinder her ability to function in the society.  If it is honestly her decision, then I feel no one has the right to challenge her.

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Everyone dance Dubka!  Even during the harshest of times these folks can celebrate.

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This lady reminded me of my Mom, I guess she looks like she could be anyone’s Mom, but she is the mother of a young man locked up without charges and without hope inside some Israeli hellhole prison cell, far worse I’m sure, then the one I was in Beershiva after the Mavi.

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I met this fellow during an anti-detainee rally in a park.  He wanted to chat about what I was doing in Gaza and what I thought about the place.  We shared a cup of tea and like so many others, I asked to have our photo taken.  Needless to say there is more to his story, but he didn’t mention his missing legs and I didn’t ask.  He was just another one of the hundreds of friendly Gazans I met.  And in reality the Gazan streets have many many crippled people like him, so perhaps his situation is not unusual or worth asking about.

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Walking past this fellow’s store front I spotted him doing the ancient art of rewinding electric motors.  In the rich “West” such things are rarely done, as it is much cheaper to throw away burnt out generator motors and order cheap new ones from overseas sweat shops.  Except in Gaza that isn’t an option, so all the overworked broken generators, that sometimes run  around the clock due to the Israeli blockade, end up in his little shop.  And he brings them back to life again through skill and hard work.  We used to do this kind of recycling in Canada, but now we are too rich to do such menial work and so just heave the motors into the scrap metal bin.  We have people who want to work and resources like copper and aluminum in motors that could be saved from the garbage, but that’s how the system works in the West.

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During one of my getting lost walking tours, I was waved over by a policeman with a gun.  What the hell did I do for crips sake!  Well it turned out these were just a couple of very well educated school chums, who have to take mindless guard duty jobs to feed their families.  The huge gentle fellow on the right, speaks great English, and is working on his PHD and has an uncle who cooks in a high end restaurant in Ontario.  He called him up right there and handed the phone to me to chat to his uncle in frozen Toronto.  They all laughed their heads off listening to me describe what Toronto is like in February, but he’d sure like to go there anyways, to further his education.  But it ain’t going to happen with Harper in power. A fine fellow, forced to waste his time protecting his country, when he’d rather be studying.  I imagine the same thing is happening on the Israeli side of the border.

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Here is the cousin of a Palestinian detainee, who just died while in Israeli custody, apparently due to torture.  He was arrested, under the unproven suspicion of throwing stones.  This guy here spent 27 years in an Israeli prison for some charge related to opposing Israel’s illegal occupation.  When he was released he was illegally deported to Gaza, while his whole family is in the West Bank, who are not allowed to visit him.  Must be some strange logic there somewhere that I’m missing. Sounds like collective punishment.Image

Just a pleasant young lady at the detainee rally, who casually told me a few nightmarish stories about the 2008/09 and Nov 2012 Israeli assaults on Gaza. She’s still smiling though!

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A commercial fisherman, like my Dad.  He has just lost his family’s 4th and last boat, to the Israelis illegally hijacking it to Ashdod, where, with the other three boats, it will rot at the dock and eventually sink.  It was machine gunned so they already know the engine and hull are ruined anyways.  And people wonder why the Palestinians are angry with the Zionists.

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Gaza’s a very young place, with the average age being 17 years old.  Here’s a gang of kids I found wandering around a desolate field, that used to a block of buildings before the Israelis leveled it all.  Unlike Canada or Latin America or almost anywhere, I didn’t find many kids playing organised sports here, nor the fields to play them on, other then this one “supplied” by the IDF.  I’ve been told there are not the resources, nor energy to organise the kids into teams and leagues and due to Gaza being the most densely populated place on earth, land for parks is at a premium.  I certainly see thousands of kids running laughing and playing in the streets, back lanes and roof tops, just not on proper playing fields.  Gaza City did have a special stadium for youth and particularly handicapped kids, but the Israelis blasted it to pieces last November.  Like so much of the Israeli destruction I’ve seen, this made no sense, other then to punish the population in general, like their bombing of the sewer, water and electrical plants.  Anyhow it’s bedtime, so goodnight from Gaza.

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One response to this post.

  1. Wow, what an excellent ambassador you are, Kevin! Thanks so much for being there as a living example of a Canadian with a conscience. It would be easy to understand if Palestinians were to utterly despise people from Canada, given the racist rubbish that governs our country. I’m disgusted and ashamed to be from Canada. Please tell the people of Palestine that many of us feel this way. Thanks for your updates! Cheers, Ingmar

    Reply

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