This is Gaza

The idea for the “This is Gaza” series came a few days after the war on Gaza started in October.  The images we were all getting in the media were similar to the images we got from Gaza in 2008, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2019; they were images of killed people, mostly women and children, and of destroyed buildings.  Despite the importance of conveying these images to the world, we felt that they were missing something important: images of life.  We saw dead people without seeing what they did when they were alive, and we saw destroyed buildings without seeing them when they were schools, mosques, theatres or sports clubs.  Just as the images were only of war and death, the voices talked only about war and death.  As an organization that works in arts and culture, we asked ourselves: where are the voices of artists and writers?  Do these voices, and the images they convey, have a place amidst such  terrible tragedy? We decided to launch this modest attempt at presenting some of the literary voices in Gaza, first because they deserve to be heard, because these voices go further and deeper than media reports and political statements, and because the voice and  image of Gaza are incomplete without those of artists and writers.  In Gaza there are hundreds of literary writers, theatre practitioners, musicians, film-makers and visual artists, and tens of theatre and music groups, galleries, museums, libraries and cultural centres,  just like in any other urban community in the world.

The few texts included in this booklet were all written between 7 October and 20 December, and we collected them in a random manner from social media platforms, and then asked for writers’ permission to publish them.  Meanwhile, we started, in collaboration with our partners  أفلام س Seen and many volunteering artists, to film some of them as readings by well known artists and public figures.  The videos and the texts were published widely on social media, in collaboration with our media partners Al Manassa المنصة and  Raseef22, and they reached a wide audience of more than 7 million viewers by the beginning of 2024.

We are now presenting you with these texts in one digital booklet so that you can keep and share it, and so that it remains a document of the voices of literary writers under bombardment.