We posted this video of children's drawings a week ago, but it deserves a repeat performance:
The new year has arrived, 2011. Please let it be better than 2008-2009-2020; let it be better for Gaza. For Gaza I wish a year without war; without the shower of white phosphorous, bombs, missiles. Keep Gaza safe from invasion, tanks, bulldozers and guns. In May 2009 I saw the impact of Operation Cast Lead on Gaza. The rubble and destruction were visible everywhere I went ....beyond my wildest dreams. The Gazans were managing to live/survive....their strength and determination were amazing. They were living in tents, bombed out shells of houses, crowded in residences built for six people now sheltering twenty. And the children--
Children....were everywhere...playing in the rubble; peeking out from behind their parents or grandparents; giving peace signs, asking, "you American?" Many were lively and friendly.....others were withdrawn....their faces lacked expression....no, it was a blank expression....one that comes from extreme trauma...eyes dark and empty...they had no desire, maybe no ability to interact.
All Gaza's children suffered in one way or another from the horrors of Israel's crimes. Most were masking the sights they'd seen, the losses, the shock, the fear...memories.
The Qattan Center for the Child was filled with lively children...playing, laughing, dancing; thoroughly engaged....enjoying childhood activities. Qattan's director explained the center's art therapy program which encourages children to express their fears, emotions and trauma through art. Most of the pictures were drawn using bright colors.....indicating happiness? Wrong!! Airplanes were dropping bombs; children were running, hiding; crying; people were bleeding bright red blood and laying on the ground...dead. There were houses on fire; buildings reduced to rubble; ambulances; helicopters shooting missiles; white phosphorous raining from the sky.
The drawings were shocking....war revealed through the eyes of a child. Some how their drawings expressed the horrors of Operation Cast Lead as clearly as videos and photographs of events Fear, honesty, accuracy, horror and emotion covered sheet after sheet of paper.....Art, expressing what the children had witnessed; children who, through no fault of their own, were put through
It was clear to me.... people. the average American, needs to see these pictures. Not people familiar with the I/P situation, anti-war people...they are already "on-board." We need appeal to an audience who is not committed, people who are questioning, people who continue to wonder about Operation Cast Lead and it's impact on Gaza. Because the drawings are by children the viewer most likely expect a cute, simple selection of children's drawings...certainly not dramatic, gut-wrenching accounts of war...the view seen by the children of Gaza sharing openly what they experienced....the Impact of Operation Cast Lead!
A traveling art exhibit "A Child's View from Gaza" is a collection of 25-30 drawings created by children from six children's centers in Gaza......the drawings show what they saw and experienced and are as beautiful as they are disturbing.
Rajie Cook and Thomas Francisco have created a powerful video featuring drawings from "A Child's View of Gaza" Please, watch it here on Mondoweiss! It is also available on youtube.
As the new year begins there are talks of Israel, once again, invading Gaza. The Peace Talks are failing to produces peace in the Middle East. We need to be creative, do everything possible to bring a halt to Israel's actions against Gaza. We need to awaken the average American to the truth.....perhaps the children of Gaza and their powerful art can help.
"A Child's View of Gaza"; for information and exhibit arrangements email Susan: firstname.lastname@example.org