The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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?Gaza Strip? is powerful and disturbing

Mohammed Hajezi, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, dropped out of second grade to help support his family living in Gaza City.’ He was a main voice in the documentary ‘Gaza Strip’ by James Longley, released in 2002 shown at the Glendale Central Library Sunday.
Hajezi sells newspapers and on his spare time with a group of friends throws rocks or broken-off pieces of concrete at the Israeli side, often under gunfire. Many children have died this way.’

‘All my friends are dead,’ a tearful Hajezi said. One friend was killed by Israeli gunfire near a border-crossing while trying to collect copper.

At a moment of self-reflection, he has a conversation with God. God asks, ‘Can you read and write?’ ‘Why did you throw rocks?’ Hajezi says he does not know if he will go to heaven or hell, but he would be happy to be in solitude on a mountain in between.

In Arabic with English subtitles, the film is a glimpse at the lives of, at the time, 1.2 million Palestinians held in a virtual open-air prison on the four by 28-miles-long Gaza Strip under Israeli occupation on the Mediterranean coastline.

Longley does not shy away from showing the injured and bodies, including one boy whose eye was missing and intestines blown-out.

What makes this film especially unique is the dominance of children’s voices, so many of whose friends have been killed. Forced to grow up so fast, it is painful to hear what they have been through. One child said his friend was killed and two others kids were injured when they found boxing gloves that had explosives inside.’ ‘ ‘

‘ ‘I would rather die. It would be easier than all the things in life,’ says a child whose playground is piles of rubble under constant gunfire.

Speaking with much pain in their eyes, another child says, ‘I want to leave this life. I want to be a martyr and go to Paradise.’

It is no wonder why children would speak that way when everyday they are surrounded by death.’ It is heartbreaking to hear 10-year-olds hopeless and tired of life.

This documentary is a gem that provides insight into the lives of Palestinians under occupation and explores a much-ignored fact of the human casualties, especially the children. Not only the ones killed and injured, but also the thousands who have lost their childhood along with the life of kin or a friend.

The event organized by Glendale Peace Vigil was followed by audience discussion mediated by Don Bustany, host of KPFK’s ‘Middle East in Focus’ radio program.

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