In Photos

In Photos: Photographer Captures Rare Scenes of Joy Amidst the Destruction in Gaza

In Photos: Photographer Captures Rare Scenes of Joy Amidst the Destruction in Gaza

Family holds birthday party amidst the rubble in Gaza (photo: @m.z.gaza/Instagram)

Over a week has passed since the ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, yet Palestinians everywhere still feel the trauma of the 11-day carnage and the overall weight of the conflict with Israel.

In Gaza, where entire families and bloodlines were wiped out during the last war between Palestinian militants and Israel, the loss and the pain left in the wake of the missiles and airstrikes can be felt across the strip.

 

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A post shared by Mohammed Zaanoun (@m.z.gaza)

The exchange of fire has claimed the lives of many. In Gaza, 219 people, including 63 children, were killed by Israeli airstrikes. Across the border, rockets fired by Palestinians militants killed 10 Israelis, including two children, in Israel.

And although the fighting has, thankfully, come to an end, Palestinians across East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israel continue to fight the occupation, the forced expulsions and ethnic cleansing, and the racist, discriminatory policies imposed by the Israeli government.

 

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A post shared by Mohammed Zaanoun (@m.z.gaza)

The truly inspiring thing, however, is Palestine’s unbreakable resolve and ceaseless efforts to gain freedom and Gaza is no different. Often described as the world’s largest open air prison, Gaza has been under air, sea and land blockade by Egypt and Israel since 2007 and is the third most densely populated place in the world.

With already failing infrastructure, high poverty and unemployment rates and a collapsing healthcare system, Gazan civilians are enduring a heavy toll in the aftermath of the Israeli bombardment of the strip.

 

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A post shared by Mohammed Zaanoun (@m.z.gaza)

But among the devastation and the unimaginable loss and recurring trauma, life is winning out in Gaza. Capturing Gaza’s undying pride and hope is Palestinian photojournalist Mohammed Zaanoun.

 

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A post shared by Mohammed Zaanoun (@m.z.gaza)

The award-winning photographer has captured Gaza as some of its lowest and highest points. In the aftermath of the May 2021 bombardments and airstrikes by Israel, Zaanoun is capturing Gaza’s true spirit, its perseverance and its joie de vivre, in an ongoing photo series capturing scenes from everyday life of Gazans trying to find a new sense of normal among the loss and destruction.

From birthday parties amidst the rubble, to fire breathing parkour traceurs, life in Gaza marches on, and so do Palestinians, their spirits and humanity unbroken despite the heartache. It is a testament to humanity’s capacity for hope in the face of great adversity.

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