Weather continues warm and dry. Where is the rainy season?
The key dream this morning was hearing a woman describe me as having “been left for dead, bleeding in the streets.” I had been injured, in much the same way as many Gazans, severely it seems. People came to my rescue immediately. I’d been medically treated expeditiously and clearly survived without long-term injuries. I approached the well-meaning woman and said, “Maybe in telling my story less is more. Would you drop the part about me left for dead?” This might be a dream to help me in writing about Ibrahim; it might foretell something that will happen to me; it might reflect one of my prior experiences.
At my urging on one recent afternoon Mosab, my local companion and guide, took me for a walk (like walking his dog?) along the beach. I’ve not yet oriented to the cardinal directions. I believe we walked north, then west to hit the beach road, then north and west again to finally access the beach. Then south until stopped by a fence demarking the port, reversed direction to travel north thru a portion of Beach Camp, and south again until finally we found a walkway up to the shore road and met others at a shore front hotel and restaurant, El Dera. Long walk, on a day more like late April in New England along the Boston waterfront than winter.
This was a perfect walk for me, for at least two reasons: my photo theme of hydropolitics and my native love of water, especially wide and endless water, open vista, expansive beach, salt spray. However there were some signal differences between this Gaza beach and what I’m familiar with at home in the States.
- Dirt, trash, sewage. Many open pipes loaded with raw sewage entered the beach. Since the weather has been relatively dry these pipes were not spewing effluent as I’d seen before here in May 2006. Debris from the pipes left tell tale signs. A range of detritus—pieces of clothing, plastic items, paper, all faded and light bluish, making vivid photos. In addition, piles of building materials speckled and spoiled the beach. Some might have been placed to impede beach erosion but much looked hastily deposited, another sign of the lack of social infrastructure and environmental awareness.
- With this, the odor. Wind was strongly from the west, blowing off the sea (and perhaps carrying scents of my loved ones some 4000 miles westward) so this might have mitigated the odor. It was not strong, nor repulsive, just pervading, a light whiff of garbage.
- Relative absence of people. On such a day, a location like this, in many parts of the world (I thought of my walks in Amsterdam with a friend or in Haifa last year) we’d find numerous people out enjoying the sea. Not so here. Two men sitting talking. A young man walking in front of us. The kids at Beach Camp. Two police guarding the port. Us. And one or two others.
- Shore front buildings, some completed, used, and open, such as hotels. Some completed but empty and unused. And many half finished. This demonstrates both the deterioration of the area and its political stress but also the potential—a resort rivaling the Riviera.
- With this lack of people—and it may have been the time of week, Saturday, and year, winter—there was virtually no commercial activity near the water, no fishing boats in and out (remembering the sometimes high activity level in Gloucester, repairing boats and gear, offloading fish, etc), only two fishers that we noted, both netting near sewage pipes, no refreshments, nothing sold, no amenities of any sort, and little linkage other than visual with the hotels and restaurants.
Mosab seemed to enjoy his role guiding me. At first he appeared reluctant when I broached the idea, later he remembered it and initiated the walk, promising to bring me to other parts of the shore and Strip.
I am researching the history of this region, fascinated, a cross roads and heavily contested region. Imagine those who’ve used the path we took or one nearby to travel between Egypt and Syria. The Jesus family purportedly walked thru to escape Herod’s slaughter of the innocents. Gaza was not so long ago the major port of Palestine. Egypt controlled, the Phoenicians controlled, the early Philistines controlled, the Canaanites, all these and more. I would like to learn when most recently it was a peaceful, civil, pleasant, desirable region that attracted many to its luxuries. This would show its potential.
One photographic theme for Gaza could be simply the beach, north to south, then compare this with that of Ashkelon just a few km north in Israel.
Addendum, “From Gaza with Love,” an excerpt from the blog by the Gaza-based physician and political activist, Dr. Mona Al Farra (exactly as posted). A friend just introduced us by phone and we promised to meet soon. A most admirable woman.
Merry Christmas and Happy New year -Happy Eid Adha
20th of December 2007–GazaIt is Eid ALADHA Eve; Xmas is so close , Happy Eid , Merry Xmas and Happy New Year
, I decided to go for hair cut , and as I passed by the Omar Elmokhtar street in Remal area of Gaza city , this street is usually very crowded on the eid eve , but today it it was not , some window shoppers are hanging around , and I could see many children aged nearly , five to 10 , trying to sell some chewing gum.There are not enough goods in the shops, and not enough cash for people to purchase
It was so heartbreaking , to see one man who is trying to sell, , tens of boxes of lovely fresh strawberries, well packed with very low prices , it was obvious that it was for exportation , and without any questions, I realised that the borders have been closed , after it was opened for short period to let the strawberry product out of Gaza , it is not difficult for u to imagine the size of financial loss for farmers , when the product is ready then could not be exportedIt bcse of the borders closure.
The siege against Gaza has completed its six months 1.5 million of population are not allowed to travel outside Gaza ,many essential medications are not on the local pharmacies shelves as well as the hospital drug stores , tens of necessary goods are lacking only 15 kinds of goods are allowed to enter Gaza regularly , severe shortage of detergents, no cars spare parts , irregular electrical power ,most of local small industries has closed down due to lack of raw materials hundreds of local employees were made redundant , 39 patients have died before getting permit to leave Gaza for treatment in Israel , at least 2000 patients with different urgent health needs, including children with heart diseases and cancer patients , are waiting to be referred for further treatment outside the Gaza stripIn Gaza today our stories are the stories of loss of hope lack of just realistic political solution , poverty , despair ,unsafe streets irregular power , lack of clean water ,all sorts of frustrations .increasing %of children who suffer of posttraumatic disorders , desperate women and men increasing of domestic violence ,hungry kids in the streets , increasing number of children labours ,increasing number of school leavers ,lack of proper environment for children upbringing etc……..in the middle of all that Israeli military operations are continous ongoing practise , 20 palestinians at least were killed last week , many were injured in military incursions and air rides in diffrent areas of the gaza Strip.
Xmas time is so close, from Gaza I send my love, and best wishes for merry xmas and happy new year, I ask you while celebrating and rejoicing ,not to forget us in Gaza,to remeber the thousands of men , women and children who takes the worst brunt of continous unjust war , to spread the word of truth, to shake the world consciousness against the big war crimes that is happening in Gaza, the harsh inhuman collective punishment against my people, the occupation crimes that is committed under the pretence of Israel security and fighting terrorism!!
When it is late, it is not acceptable for the world to say: WE DID NOT KNOW WHAT WA SHAPPENING IN GAZA