Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gaza's record-breaking children

Vittorio Arrigoni writing from occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 16 August 2010

"Gaza's kids truly are record-breakers. They survived Israel's 2008-09 winter invasion and every day they put up with a state of war during a so-called ceasefire. Smeared in blood, they've crawled through the rubble of shelled buildings, taking care of younger siblings, and tending to languishing parents, often emerging from under the remains of their own beds.

More than half of Gaza's population are children. Though none of them has ever voted for Hamas, they're the designated targets of Israel's military operations and more generally, of the siege imposed upon Gaza. They're resilient children, standing up against a multitude of ailments and obstacles. According to a recent report of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, 52 percent of Gaza's children are anemic and suffer from serious nutritional problems due to the insufficiency of phosphorous, calcium and zinc in their food. The rate of respiratory illnesses they suffer is also cause for concern.

Gaza's children suffer from psychological disorders, the consequence of enduring Israel's attacks and siege....

Unlike the basketballs used in Rafah, the kites flown over Beit Lahiya were not industrially produced, but handmade by those same children who then released them into the sky. Some were brightly decorated, while many proudly wore the colors of the Palestinian flag. It was like a scream of resistance in visual form, flying in front of the Israeli surveillance towers only a few hundred meters away.

After the kite flying event was officially registered as a new Guinness world record, an Israeli warship appeared on the horizon, slowly advancing towards the coast of Beit Lahiya. It was a cruel reminder that recreation time was over."

No comments: