How much suffering can the human being endure? Throughout history humanity has proven to be the worst perpetrator of violence, aggression and oppression against itself. The daily struggles of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip is immense, forced to live in what is internationally called the world’s largest open air prison, many of those living in the Gaza Strip are living in sub-human conditions, caught in the middle of ongoing conflict between the Israeli Occupation forces and their own Hamas government body.
Yet, in the face of it all, the Palestinian people continue to stand strong, believe in hope, and hold on to that hope that Palestine will have its freedom from occupation. The youth of Gaza strive for education, to better themselves, to become leaders for their people and their country while experiencing the daily threat of occupation forces. For many it becomes too much bare; too much to be provoked daily, unable to even walk the streets in peaceful demonstration or protest, against efforts that serve only to break the human spirit and will to live.
The young men in these photos are risking their lives to demonstrate against occupation of their land and show that they will not be broken, they want only for the world to see and take notice that beyond all political issues, they only want to live in peace, to live, educate themselves and have a future where they too can prosper and contribute to the world around them.
It is important to note, the young men in these photos are not the aggressors, they are only trying to take a human stand against the violence and struggle they are forced to face every day. These photos have been provided to me by a photojournalist living and working in Gaza, Ahmad Hasaballah. He has been kind enough to offer his work as a contributor to this site and to the Faces of Palestine project. I am honored that he has offered to help me show the world the humanitarian struggle, stories and faces of the Palestinian people, especially those most harshly affected by Israeli occupation in Gaza.
Just in the last 23 years Gaza has seen three wars between Occupation Forces and Palestinian Resistance. Thousands of Palestinians have been killed and continue to die daily due to a severe lack of housing, food, medical care and the basic necessities of life itself.
These young men are armed with nothing more than their bare hands, will to live, and as you see in this photo a simple sling shot used for self defense against Israeli rifles, tear gas launchers, and worse. These clashes are common daily occurrences along the wall that separates Gaza from the rest of Palestine.