• What is it like to live in Gaza? How do young people growing up in the country see their future, in the midst of the ongoing violence?
  • How has the latest cycle of events affected the people of Gaza?
  • Akashic Times has managed to track down one very brave individual currently living in Gaza and in this special feature, we tell her story.
  • Lana Shaheen has spoken to reporters at the Akashic Times about her hopes and fears, and ideas for the future
Lana Shaheen

Lana Shaheen

While the debate rages among Western superpowers, campaigners, Zionists and various interest groups about Israel vs Palestine, the voices of those who are directly affected by the ongoing campaign of terror by an all-powerful state are drowned out of the discussion.

The last few weeks has seen a relentless bombing campaign by the State of Israel.

However, endless protests, boycotting and people power has for the moment at least, led to a truce between Hamas and Israel.

And yet, history tells us that the volatile situation in the region, combined with Israel’s reputation for breaking truces within days of accepting them, should not be a reason to let one’s guard down.

It is also true that the endless repression of the people of Gaza and the lack of freedom they have is a constant stain on the lives of the people who live there.

There are some who argue that even the mere questioning of the State of Israel amounts to anti-semitism.

However, the truth is just the opposite – nothing is more anti-semitic than Zionism. The Palestinian people are after all, semitic peoples.

You see, expressing concern for the men and women living in a constant state of terror does not amount to hating a person purely on the grounds of their religious views.

It is instead a question of trying to put an end to the enslavement, and modern-day apartheid experienced by our fellow man.

Thanks to the blockade against Gaza, Palestinian people are essentially trapped in a cycle of terror and uncertainty – being unable to obtain a passport and powerless to stop their friends and family dying in the midst of this ongoing skirmish.

Meanwhile, Jewish groups and campaigners across the world have remained more or less united in their efforts to stop the conflict.

There are also many Palestinian people who are making concentrated efforts to make their voices heard and bring about any positive changes they can.

Lana Shaheen is one such person. Lana is an 18 year old Palestinian girl currently living in Gaza.

In many ways, she is just an ordinary teenager. Up until a few weeks ago, she was studying English Literature at Al-azhar University in Gaza.

That is, until her university got bombed by the state of Israel.

A sample of one of Lana's drawings

A sample of one of Lana’s drawings

Like many teenagers, she enjoys drawing pictures, listening to music, socialising with her friends and updating her Facebook and Twitter pages.

Unlike many young people her age, she lives in constant fear of another bombing campaign and has already lost over 11 friends and family members as the violence has continued.

Whilst some may argue that any criticism of Israel amounts to anti-semitism – Lana’s story highlights the human cost to all of this murder and mayhem.

Over the last few weeks, Lana has lived in constant terror of bombs being dropped on her home. Her future is an uncertain one – because at any moment, the conflict could erupt again and put her situation and that of thousands of others in Gaza in a state of flux.

During the bombing campaign waged by Israel, it was difficult to get access to food, water and other resources due to the constant dangers.

Businesses in her area were destroyed and the infrastructure was brought to a standstill.

But despite the struggle and constant pain that she has to endure, her story is also an inspirational one: she is young and she still has bright hopes for the future.

She told the Akashic Times: “It destroy the education, my university was bombed so after this war I wont be able to keep on [with] my education, and some schools were destroyed by the Israeli bombs.

“I hope I can make peace everywhere and I hope I can help weak people and to give love to all the world and to make a new world without war and safe [for] the children because they have no faults to live in war. My dreams is to travel all around the world to make a big gallery for my art and my drawings, and to keep my master and my education in London or Canada.”

lanadrawface2

In her tweets, she described how the tumultuous situation and ongoing conflict has affected some of her younger siblings, who have had their childhood taken from them. Instead of being able to play outside and just be kids like other children, instead they are inside talking about politics, like an “like an old man”.

She also revealed how for over 66 years, the people of Gaza have been caged like animals in the locality, denied the opportunity to travel and robbed of their freedom.

“All the world should stand for Gaza, all the media should talk the truth about this war and how they killed the civilian ,children and all the innocent,” she added. “All western people should know the truth so they shouldn’t ignore it and they all must stop buying the Israeli products. They fund Israel and pay to kill us in this war when they buy Israeli product. There are pictures of how Israel killed the children while they were playing in the beach and how they killed the innocent and all the civilian.”

For the moment, she is celebrating the first glimmers of hope that she has. This new deal between Israel and Hamas, has at least for the time being, offered them some shelter from the violence that has decimated the region.

 

Below, is a picture of the young children in her area celebrating after the truce was announced.

palestinekids

Finally, they are able to play, without the threat of war planes circling over their heads, ready to destroy what little they have.

One thing that the conflict has not taken away however, is their hope and strength of spirit.

Lana had this to say: “How are you still strong while you are going through hell?
My answer is I know the real meaning of life and my strength will give me my freedom soon.”

For the moment at least, the young children in Gaza can take a breather from the bloodshed. However, the fight for freedom and the right to exist as a human being continues.

lanadrawwoman

Lana’s story is one that is only too familiar to the many thousands of people that through no fault of their own, are caught up in this never-ending cycle of despair and uncertainty.

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