Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Feast Goes On in Khan Yunis

     There likely could not have been a better therapy for Gazans than having a respite from the punishing recent violence to enjoy one of the most sacred moments of the year: Eid al Adha (feast of sacrifice). According to Islam, this feast, or festival, honors Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael.
     I spent the three-day period with the Al Faqawi family, with whom I first lived 20 years ago in their Khan Yunis refugee camp home. Now, in Khan Yunis town east of the camp, their expanded family lives in the classic multi-level building, with each floor housing the sons' families. Theirs is one of the families I am writing the book about, tracing their lives across these decades. Hammam, the oldest son, is a central character in the book.
     Many of the photos are taken from the roof of their home, just a mile from the devastated eastern villages (see previous post). Still stunned by the shocking violence of the recent war, the town seemed starved for this moment of peace, harmony, and sharing.
Khan Yunis town
Sunset on eve of feast

Khan Yunis town, morning of feast

Calves to the slaughter

Gathering for morning prayer

3 generations off to prayers: Fuad, Hammam, Fuad, Omar

Early prayer, first day of feast

Early prayer, first day of feast

Simple feast: fresh kebab, hummus, and bread

Dates in various stages


Shadha and Hammam

Hammam and Shadha's children (Fuad, Mohammed, Omar, Habiba)

Fathima and granddaughter Fahtima (brother Wasseem's newbor)

Brother Hani, and sons Fuad and Mahmoud

Indispensable gadgets for the constant power outages

Father Fuad, Mother Fathima sorting just-harvested olives
BKB lending a symbolic hand

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Not to be Overlooked: The Destruction of Khuza'a and Abasan

This will be my only post specifically documenting the level of destruction of Gaza. Journalists have done it in part; but, otherwise, it would be too difficult to decide which of the several hundred photos I took--of Beit Hanoun, Gaza City, Shejaia, and the villages east of historic Khan Yunis Khan Yunis, including Khuza'a Khuza'a and Abasan--to share
(contact me if you'd like to see the full set of photos).
 Referring to these latter two villages--in the southern part of the Strip and both with histories of military destruction--Fuad, a friend from Khan Yunis, bemoaned all of the media attention to Shejaia (to the  north). "What occurred there was nothing compared to Khuza'a and Abasan."  (See yesterday's NY Times piece by Fares Akram Fares Akram).
 Here a mix of scenes, that need little explanation:



Crater from F-16 missile

Friday, October 3, 2014

Salvaging Strength in Gaza: The Rebar

As bone-tired as they are, Gazans waste no time moving forward and rebuilding--yet again.
Amid the fresh ruins of the flattened towers of Gaza City 
the recovery of rebar is crucial to building anew.