Gaza: Children of Conflict

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Gaza is a virtual prison with hardly any way in or out. And it was so 10 years ago when Al Jazeera entered Gaza to talk to the grandchildren of Fatima al-Najar, who had recently achieved a strange kind of fame as the oldest Palestinian suicide bomber.

These children, whose lives had been shaped by the oppressive conditions imposed on the territory by Israel, spoke frankly about the hopes, and fear, for their future.

Ebtehal was just 10 at the time and wanted to be the first female president of Palestine. She said she had three priorities; to clean up the mess left behind by the Israeli bulldozers, to give children their rights and “to build a new Gaza”.

In contrast, another young girl, Rana, hoped to become a journalist, “So I can tell the people how we suffer here. I am a child, I know what death means, I know what war means, I know what blood means.”

These and other children opened their hearts in a moving show of optimism in the face of the dire conditions in which they lived. Now, a decade on, Rewind returns to Gaza in search of the children featured in Children of Conflict, now young adults. Once again they speak to Al Jazeera’s cameras contrasting their aspirations of 10 years ago with the reality of today.

Ebtehal is now 22 years old an a graduate, with a degree in health administration. However, owing to the ongoing terrible conditions in Gaza, she is unemployed, and has experienced personal loss several times over the years.

“Because of the wars, we’ve lost two brothers,” says Ebtehal. “This has created a big wound in our family … one that will stay forever.” 

Zana Bashir was only 11 years old at the time of filming, she is now studying dentistry – her long-desired profession of choice – albeit not where she had anticipated. 

“I had decided to study dentistry in Germany, as my brothers are there,” says Zana, “I had no idea that the Gaza crossing would be the end of it. [I thought] the crossing will eventually open and I will travel. Until I found myself [here] studying at Al-Azhar University.” 

Source: Al Jazeera

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