An Irish documentary maker, Dearbhla Glynn, has braved it out in some of the most dangerous corners of the world to film a thought-provoking documentary about life in the Gaza Strip.
“Gaza: Post-Operation Cast Lead” looks at life in the coastal enclave in the wake of the Israeli military operation which killed over 1,400 Palestinians and reduced to rubble large parts of the tiny territory. The offensive was a military response to eight years of sporadic rocket fire by paramilitary elements in Gaza against the residents of Southern Israel.
The documentary maker said that she was particularly appalled by the state of the buildings in the Strip. Glynn said “It looked as though a gentle push would be enough to knock the whole thing down.”,
She also spoke in harrowing terms of the conditions in which she found a family living. “We discovered an entire family living in the rubble. The children had their books out and were doing their homework. Their mother was cooking on a stove. The children’s cousins, who had lived across the road, were killed in the bombing. But this family stayed put. They had nowhere else to go,” said Glynn.
She said that it's impossible to appreciate "what's going on there [in Gaza]", without visiting it first-hand. “Police stations, cement factories, graveyards and hospitals were all completely destroyed in the 2008/09 War. This was a very deliberate attempt to crush the infrastructure of the place.”
“They seem to have this amazing faith that Allah will help them, that they have to get on with things,” she said. “Even the family living in the toppled house welcomed me with these wide, beautiful smiles. They welcomed me into their home, invited me to sit down on a brick and made me a cup of tea. In times of hardship, people’s faith becomes stronger. That’s what keeps them going.”
The Irish film-maker arrived to the Strip in summer 2009 shortly after the military operation, and continued to live among the Strip’s Palestinian population for months afterwards to observe how its residents dealt with the hardship of their daily lives.
The documentary is one of five nominees for the ICCL Human Rights Film Awards.