One year after the 2014 war that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and destroyed thousands of homes, people in Gaza are still struggling to survive under awful living conditions and a crippling blockade.
A place of daily struggle for the 1.6 million living here under Israeli siege, in the tiny Gaza strip, one of the most densely populated paces on the planet, that has since 2007 suffered under the brutal Israel Land, air and sea blockade.
After the latest assault, entire neighbourhoods are inaccessible, medical and medical disposables in shortage. The blockade has caused increased unemployment, loss of agricultural land, decline in incomes from fishing due to restrictions imposed by the Israeli Navy and daily problems obtaining raw materials, and everyday manufactured products. With health impaired by a population impoverished, together with psychological problems, caused by the ordeal of confinement, to this open prison.
Lifting the blockade would enable Gaza to trade again. And if this happened the economy could grow by almost $4 billion. Local businesses and farmers could earn decent livings again. People could afford to feed their families and put their children through school or college and get access to safe water. We must be able to give some hope of a better future for the people of Gaza, it is more than enough time that they are given their dignity back to be allowed an economic life that has been denied to them for years, to be allowed to travel and trade again.
Yes it is more than time that the blockade is lifted, for people to be connected with friends and family in the West Bank again, the blockade of human rights and international law, an obstacle to freedom and peace.
The following a poem, that looks forward to a time when the siege and blockade is over.
When the siege is broken
from a dream within a dream,
freedom's breath kept calling,
the degradation just had to end,
a change needed to be delivered,
between the wall and sea,
the keys of promise allowed to return,
allow the struggling bird, to trace some light.
The future blossoms again,
green on the land,the dawn wakes to song,
instead of the rattle of gunfire and missiles,
the morning moves with softness,
as cypresses sway, under the shade of oak trees,
jasmines scent floats, the smell of oranges,
sweet on the breeze.
Beyond the rubble of the past,
children play in jubilation,
farmers toil in the afternoon sun,
the fruit of their soil alive again,
a paradise is regained from oppression,
though weeping tears will never cease,
olive branches now glisten with hope,
fishermen go far out to cast their nets,
smiling sharing salted bread,
to bring back home a rich harvest.
Safe from captivity, no longer in a living hell,
hearts again, existing in peace,
the dream continues,
lights a path away from the dark,
as speakers ring out, a familiar call for prayer,
a conflagration of new beginnings,
returns some mercy.
poem written last week before I became aware of extent of my partners illness, a cause that we both share together.