Gaza Under Siege (8 minutes)
The video features a range of people in Gaza, from government leaders to the director of the UN Relief and Works Agency, to farmers and people living in devastated neighborhoods.
Six months after Gaza was devastated by a 22 day Israeli military offensive, rebuilding has barely begun. Since 2007, a near-total blockade has kept most goods and supplies out. The range of destruction is breathtaking. Schools, health clinics, houses, and the basic infrastructure of both public services and government have been destroyed. The building housing the Palestinian Parliament has been reduced to rubble, and legislators are forced to meet in a tent outside.
The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), responsible for the welfare and development of the refugees that make up 80% of Gaza's population, has felt the effects in all aspects of their work. "The siege is near total," says John Ging, Director of UNRWA in Gaza. "In terms of its restrictions on supplies allowed into Gaza, in essence what is allowed to come in are the basic humanitarian supplies." Among the large list of prohibited materials are life-saving medicines and many food items. No concrete, tools, or other building materials are allowed in.
There is an intense desire to rebuild, and there is no shortage of skilled labor. Billions of dollars of aid from countries around the world, including the US, have been pledged. But scarcely a single house has been repaired, and people are still living in tents, or with family members, or in shelters.
Producers: Jordan Flaherty and Lily Keber
Translation: Maher Salem, Shereen Naser, Rami Almeghari and Talal Abushawish
Additional Footage: 2-Cent and Emily Ratner
Jordan Flaherty is a writer and community organizer based in New Orleans. He was the first journalist with a national audience to write about the Jena Six case, and played an important role in bringing the story to worldwide attention. His post-Katrina writing in ColorLines Magazine shared a journalism award from New America Media for best Katrina-related coverage in the Ethnic press, and audiences around the world have seen the news segments he’s produced for Al-Jazeera, TeleSur, PressTV and Democracy Now.
Lily Keber is a documentary filmmaker and teacher living in New Orleans. Her film T. Don Hutto: America’s Family Prison brought the plight of family detention to national attention and continues to be used as an activism tool across the country. She currently is media trainer for New Orleans Video Voices, a grassroots media organization devoted to fostering critical, independent thinking through the direct and meaningful use of new media.