Sunday, June 19, 2005

And life goes on...

There is nothing quite like summer in Gaza, when the Strip’s million and a half some Palestinians head to the beach, their only outlet under this collective prison they call home. It is a perplexing scene, at once heartrending and uplifting.

Shabab donning greasy hairdos, look-cool shades, and European-style jeans, occasionally accessorized with a Palestinian Kaffiya, strut their stuff as they keep a subtle eye out for the girls. Woman (abayas and all), men, and children all submerged at once as the wild Gaza Mediterranean swallows and regurgitates them time and again.

Vendors trying to make a living, whether by way of selling chips, candied apples, roasted sweet potatoes, summer corn (Israeli and “baladi”), and even mulukhia leaves, all on local horse-drawn carts. Ponies, camels, and Arabian stallions. Children making games out of an empty cola bottle and a piece of string, or flying their dreams on handmade kites, which crowd the lonely Gaza Sky. The lone windsurfer, ignoring the lifeguards futile pleas to mind the current and waves today.

In the background, the dull thud of home-made mortars can be heard landing in a nearby settlement, in retaliation we would later learn, of a beating and shooting 4 Palestinians enjoying what would have otherwise been a similar afternoon on the beach took from extreme-right Jewish settlers. For Gaza’s Palestinians, life goes on.


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