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Voices from Gaza: Messages from Devastation

Note from LeftEast editors: we reprint this collection of posts with permission from Insaniyyat: Palestinian Society of Anthropologists. The original post is on their webpage, here, and is updated when possible.

Since the beginning of this current, most vicious, Israeli war on the people of Gaza, family and friends, including members of our Insaniyyat community, have been anxiously trying to check on loved ones across Gaza. Below are translated transcripts of personal text messages, voice notes, and social media posts Gazan friends and loved ones have managed to send in response; intermittent messages composed in the midst of shelling and destruction, while overwhelmed by the news of constant deaths including of friends and relatives, without electricity, food, water, and hope. We humbly offer these Voices From Gaza under siege that attest to Gazans’ immense suffering but also to their unbounded courage and will to survive. In the words of Gaza Human rights lawyer, Raji Sourani, speaking from within the depths of this “war”:

I am so proud of my people, unbelievable courage and strength.

I’m proud of my people, because with all the might of Israel, the strongest army in the Middle East, towards Gaza, the 365 square kilometers, and after a blockade of 16 years in the most densely populated area on Earth, which lacks everything, they are still strong, still surviving. […] We have death everywhere, in the streets and the sky—and the deaths coming from the sky, from the sea, from the artillery. […] They didn’t give up.

I’m very proud that I’m Gazan. I’m very proud that I’m Palestinian.

Raji Sourani

Raed Issa, Artist

Raed Issa is a contemporary artist born in al Breij refugee camp who lives in Gaza City with his wife and children. His art explores the themes of vulnerability, loss, and bereavement of living under siege and war, and has been exhibited in Palestine, Jordan, Switzerland, Australia, and Ireland. He is the founder of the Fine Art Program of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Gaza and a founding member of the Gaza Contemporary Art collective Eltiqa. In Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza his home and much of his artwork was destroyed. See Raed’s work here and read more about it here.

Read his messages here.

A., Journalist and Translator

A. is a young journalist and translator with a degree in English literature from the Islamic University in Gaza. A. has asked Insaniyyat to withhold his identity due to the widespread fear that journalists in Gaza are actively targeted by Israel. See for example the precedent of the 2021 bombing of major media headquarters and the killing of Al Jazeera Gaza bureau chief Wael Al-Dahdouh’s family on 25 October 2023.

Read his messages here.

Andaleeb Adwan, Feminist, Writer and Educator

Andaleeb Adwan is a long-time women’s and democratic rights activist in Gaza. She is the founder and director of the Community Development and Media Center in Gaza City which works with youth and women to promote democratic space and self-expression through socially aware citizen media. See her post from the 2021 Israeli war on Gaza here and a 2012 interview here.

Read her messages here.

S., Community Worker with Children and Youth

S. has devoted the past 35 years of her life to supporting community-owned initiatives creating safe spaces and opportunities for children and young people of Gaza to celebrate their creativity, realize their dreams, and contribute to the education, living culture, health, and well-being of their families and communities across generations. She asked to remain anonymous because of the growing fear that Israel targets anyone in Gaza who speaks out, along with their families.

Read her messages here.

R., Photographer

R. is a photographer and devoted father of two daughters, aged two and six. One of his recent projects celebrated the lives and achievements of people in Gaza who lost their limbs during previous wars; his photographs depict how they go on to live full lives despite amputations. He is part of a regional network of documentary photographers and works as a freelancer for local and international news agencies. He lives in Gaza City but was forced to send his wife and daughters, and then his father and mother, and his sister and her family to Deir al-Balah, where his wife’s family lives. Then, he too had to flee the City. His home, his parents’ home and his sister’s home in Gaza were all subsequently bombed. As of this posting, he is still in Deir al-Balah, at his in-laws, along with thirty other family members.

Read his messages here.

Ali Jadallah, Photojournalist

by Ali Jadallah. Reprinted with permission from Insaniyyat.

Ali Jadallah is a photojournalist, living in Gaza with his wife and two children. He has spent his professional life using his camera to chronicle Gaza for several news organizations. He briefly worked with Insaniyyat in 2021 as part of the Souq Stories project. His photographs have won several awards.

Read his messages here.

Ruba, Humanitarian Worker

Ruba was born in Gaza City, where she has lived most of her life. For more than 20 years she has worked with international humanitarian organizations focusing on children’s rights and gender issues both in Gaza and the MENA region. In Gaza, she worked closely with local communities to strengthen social protection systems for children and their families. She is also passionate about the care and well-being of animals and is active in Gaza’s animal welfare initiatives.

Read his messages here.

A Note on Method

Insaniyyat only posts dispatches from individuals who have given explicit permissions to do so. We have not been able to publish many messages sent to us because we could not reach people, especially during Israel’s blackout on electricity and communications imposed collectively on the entirety of the Gaza Strip for 32 hours on October 27-28, and repeated multiple times since then.

We have also noticed a shift in the willingness of even journalists to share information associated with them individually. This shift was most clear on October 25th when Israel killed four members of Al Jazeera’s chief correspondent in Gaza, Wael Dahdouh. His oldest son, Hamza, also a journalist, was subsequently killed on January 7th. Once it became clear that Israel was assassinating journalists and others who document the genocide and have a wide audience, a number of the individuals participating in this project requested that we keep their identities anonymous. As of January 27th, at least 83 journalists and media workers have been killed by Israel in Gaza. According to the Global Committee to Protect Journalists, more journalists were killed by Israel in only the first ten weeks of its war on Gaza than have ever been killed in a single country over an entire year. 

Voices from Gaza is updated as we receive communications from individuals we are in touch with. Please check back on specific pages for those updates. We will continue to try and share voices and messages from Gaza despite Israel’s attempts to silence them.