They are a staple in the cultural traditions. They are breadwinners and martial artists, crafters and cooks, business owners, students and activists. They breathe life into Gaza, but most of us don’t even know their names. Award-winning Gaza-native photojournalist Ashraf Amra urges us to take a closer look at the women who run the show – these are the women of Gaza.
Almost one year later and it’s hard to believe – news of rockets over the Gaza Strip and clashes near the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem have found their way back into our headlines, this time with Ramadan and Passover overlapping.
A country run by terrorists, an apartheid state, a war in limbo fueled by religion, extremism and politics – the conflict has been described in a thousand different ways from all different sides. We hear about Gaza every time tensions with Israel escalate, we think about Gaza as a war-zone or an open prison, and we see Gaza for its demolished facades and refugees.
But regardless of one’s political views, we can agree that aside from the conflict, many of us don’t know much about daily life in Gaza. The foothold this conflict has had in our perception of Palestine, has taken the spotlight in the world theater away from the pockets where, for the average person, the show must go on. And it is the women of Gaza who are backstage keeping it all together.
Ashraf Amra is the documenter of his people. Without much freedom of mobility outside of Gaza, he uses his camera and close relationship with his community to show how Gazans live regardless of a long-standing deadly conflict. As many men have been injured or in exile throughout the conflict and the economy in Gaza struggles, women have begun to take on different professions and responsibilities to support their families. Amra’s reportages of the women of Gaza show us the backbone of Palestinian society.