Furst, David, Tomas Munita et al: walking in war’s path

Furst, David, Tomas Munita, Jodi Rudoren, Isabel Kershner, Jon Huang, Sergio Pecanha

Walking in war’s path‘, New York Times, 22 August 2015

We don’t normally feature the Gaza Strip on Honest History but this is an exceptional piece of reportage which could represent the aftermath of any war. In this case, the war was visited on the people of Gaza and the people of Israel over a few weeks a year ago. The world has moved on but the people of Gaza still live with that war.

What you see here is essentially a number – around eight – of Google Street View-style walks through different environments, visiting different people. It is difficult to explain; we suggest you just watch, making sure to read the captions. Two example captions will suffice:

Some 2,200 Palestinians were killed last [northern] summer. About a quarter of them were younger than 18. Tens of thousands were wounded. On the Israeli side, 73 were killed, mostly soldiers.

Residents [of a kibbutz near the border] have seconds to take cover from incoming mortar shells. A 4-year-old child was killed by shrapnel last year.

All wars differ in their impacts and last year in Gaza was a smaller war than most. But even here in these Gaza walks we can see hints of Passchendaele and Ypres, London and Coventry, Berlin and Dresden, Hiroshima and Yokohama, the villages of Vietnam, the towns of Iraq and Afghanistan, and now Syria. People living with, having to cope with the aftermath of geopolitical decisions over which most of them have no control. In that sense, all wars are the same.

We have tagged this item ‘Australia’s war history’ because, while Australia was not in Gaza, we have been and will be involved in conflicts which leave people’s homes and lives looking those in Gaza. We have tagged this item ‘Getting on with the world’ because we need to do just that, despite geopolitics, despite alliance politics.

David Stephens




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