True vision productions has released a documentary of life in Gaza entitled “The Children of Gaza.” The heartbreaking film, shot in 2009, follows four children around the strip to try to document how life after Operation Cast Lead is different. The film is incredible touching and, predictably, more than just a little depressing. All of the children know someone who was killed in the brief 3 week siege; two of the children watched as their father was gunned down in front of them. Many have injuries that remind them everyday of the Israeli incursion.
[tweetmeme] Ostensibly, Cast Lead was meant to remove the ability for Hamas to fire rockets into Israel. Yet this film clearly demonstrates that the violence and death caused in those three weeks have done much more. Importantly, because the strict blockade that Israel and Egypt are imposing on the small strip prevents any construction materials from entering, the destruction remains as a constant reminder of the pain caused by those three weeks.
To me, the psychological effects of Cast Lead and the continuing blockade of Israel are the most important. The children in this film are clearly, and understandably, cultivating severe hatred for Israel. After seeing their friends and family killed, their houses, schools and mosques destroyed and the blockade sucking the life out of their homes, one can hardly blame the youths for being – for lack of a better word – bitter. Certainly, Israel wants to stop rockets being fired from Gaza, but the destruction of Gaza is only serving to radicalize the youth of Gaza against Israel.
The video shows the children “playing” by pretending to torture one another, bomb fishing boats and shoot Palestinians in the head. Cast Lead and the blockade has forced the youth in Gaza to see Israel as a brutal enemy. After watching this film, it is clear that any future peace with Israel will need to take into account the extensive psychological toll on Gazans.
Be sure to watch all five parts and check out this post over at Ensaios Imperfeitos for more on the children of Gaza.
Photo from Ensaios Imperfeitos