Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Gaza’s Children Dare to Dream

By Mel Frykberg

"GAZA CITY, Jan 11, 2011 (IPS) - Despite the lingering trauma of living under siege, regular Israeli military attacks and the consequences of a bloody war several years ago, Gaza’s children still dream of happiness and of normal lives.....

The Israel Defence Forces’ (IDF) Operation Cast Lead, from December 2008 to January 2009, left over 1,400 Palestinians dead, most of them civilian, and including over 300 children.

From her window Islam, and those trapped with her, saw people dying and wounded in the street below. Hundreds of people from Al Zarqa neighbourhood died in the aerial bombardment.....

Despite the images of hope in Islam’s sketch, other children’s drawings reflect the post traumatic stress disorder affecting many Gazan children.

"Many of the childrens’ drawings have depicted corpses, soldiers, airplanes and blood," Karl Schembri from Oxfam told IPS.

During the war more than half of Gazas’s children experienced a violent event, around 25 percent lost a loved one and 30 percent were forced to relocate.....

But there is still hope. Tahrawi explained that art therapy could be used as a bridge to a better future and that despite the gruesome content of many of the childrens’ pictures the drawings could help the children overcome their grief and move on.

"The children can relieve their stress by expressing their feelings instead of repressing them. I was surprised at the bright and cheerful colours used by certain children. I expected them all to use bleak colours such as black and brown. But the rainbow of colours is proof of their resilience," Tahrawi told IPS....."

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