Friday, June 11, 2021

  • Friday, June 11, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon


Haaretz interviewed a number of Gazans who escaped Gaza and are interned on the Greek island of Leros.

This one article says more about life in Gaza than the last 10,000 articles from the mainstream media combined. And that is not an exaggeration.

Excerpts:

I am definitely not the only one who was arrested for ideas and for speaking out. Many demonstrators were arrested, and Hamas threatened them in order to prevent future actions. One time I was waiting for the release of a friend who had been arrested, and when he came out his face was swollen and bleeding. I barely recognized him.

Hamas doesn’t make do with thwarting demonstrations; they also prevent cultural events. They shut down parties and performances, they don’t allow concerts, and they spread the notion that artists are heretics. Oud players can perform in public areas, but if an audience gathers around them, that will cause a problem. For Hamas’ leaders, art is part of Western culture and has to be boycotted.

The prohibitions also relate to private life. Women have to wear a head covering when they go outside. There was a group of women who organized in the social media and demanded to be accepted as they are – but not long ago, a female journalist who was walking outside without a head covering was beaten by Hamas people and taken to the hospital. Of course, the sale of alcohol is forbidden, even to Christians who need it for religious rituals. They are compelled to make wine at home, secretly.
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As a woman, life in Gaza was especially difficult for me. The oppression takes different forms. A married woman needs to get her husband’s approval to leave the house, and an unmarried woman can go out only if she is accompanied by a male relative. Traveling with a strange man is forbidden, so there are female taxi drivers only for women. Israel’s blockade hurts women in Gaza a lot because the exit permits are given mainly to men. Unemployment among women has increased, and so has domestic violence. In 2014 the daughter of neighbors was murdered, because she was said to be having sexual relations with a strange man. The doctors who examined the body found that she hadn’t lost her virginity.
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When I grew up I had a car, so I worked as a taxi driver. After a few years Hamas seized the car. They said they would return it on condition I would work for their organization. They don’t leave citizens any other option: either join them or stay poor. When there is no work and no food, the only option for a better life – if you can call it that – is to join Hamas. The problem is that once you join, it is very hard to leave.

I have a good friend who understood when he was a teenager that he had no interest in women, but his parents forced him to marry one. He suffered a lot, and then Hamas found out about it and arrested him. You have to understand that Hamas has full control over the life of the individual. They have spies and police who walk around in the streets and impose order. For example, Hamas demands that couples show marriage documents. If an unmarried couple is out walking together and don’t have papers, the guy is arrested and the girl signs a commitment not to go out [in public] again with anyone.

When I look back and think about what I would have wanted most, I would have chosen to live in Israel and work there with my father in farming. He worked in Israel for decades as a farmer, when the border crossings were open. 
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The wars that Gaza went through left a lot of streets destroyed. The Hamas government talks about rehabilitation projects, and they get money for it, but the destruction remains. That’s of course not the situation with Hamas’ leaders, who always end up with renovated homes and new cars. Hamas declares victory, but in the meantime the children play in the rubble as though it were an amusement park. That’s how it is with us: The illusions we’re sold become part of life.
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These people can speak without fear because they left Gaza. Reporters in Gaza cannot report freely, nor can Gazans speak to them freely. 

Real journalists would do what they can to compensate for these shortfalls - mentioning Hamas censorship, for example. But unfortunately, this sort of story that actually illuminates how real life is in Gaza is exceedingly rare - because most journalists don't want to uncover or report the truth.

In this case, kudos to Haaretz.







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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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