Friday, January 22, 2010

Gaza Envelope

Yesterday we travelled to the border of Gaza, a region known as the “Gaza envelope”. Ido, the principle of the school where we are volunteering, lives about a mile from the border. So, he took us around the area.  Each picture has a caption below it.

I do not want to fill this space with my own personal blather, but instead invite you to set aside a few moments after looking at the picture. I encourage you to spend extra time considering the final photograph. It is not a particularly stunning or beautiful image. Tall grass masks the blooming flowers.

At Kibbutz Kfar Aza, the community is building bomb shelters for every home. Shells travel here so quickly that public/shared shelters are not an option. The kibbutznikim would not be able to run to the shelter fast enough.

Children at the Kfar Aza kindergarten have created a wonderful fantasty land out of reused “big people garbage”. These kids have amazing ruach – spirit. Their school building is actually a large bombshelter.

Four years ago, a shell from Gaza killed a man, Jimmy, tending to his garden at Kfar Aza. This event sent many families packing, because his death made the community feel largely exposed and unsafe. The olive tree marks the place of his murder.

Flowers grow near the border. You can see the wire of a fence cutting across the picture…

A patch of wildflowers with Gaza in the background, and the Mediteranean Sea is visible in the distance. The Gaza Strip is so narrow that its entire width was visible, all the way to Mediterranean Sea in the distance. I took this picture one or two kilometers from the border. I could have jogged to the border in under 10 minutes, but the reality on the other of the wall could not be farther away from my own... The way I framed this picture, the relatively small amount of Israeli farmland before the border takes up a disproportionate amount of space between where I stood and the border itself.

A crop-duster roared as it sprayed pesticides on a wide swath of date palms. Birds chirped insistently. The wind blew slowly. Nearby military excercises brought loud punctations of artillery fire.

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