Give me Liberty or give me Death
If there existed a compilation of record-breaking human suffering, let’s say a Guinness book of sheer human misery, a 360 square kilometers territory of Gaza, home to some 1.8 million people would provide an above average amount of horrifying examples.
Amar Abu Assi (22) would be among those representing his home town Khan Yunis in the east of Gaza. He lost his both legs in an attack by a drone during the Israeli military operation Cast Lead during 2008/2009. He had no possibility of an adequate treatment in Gaza as its health system has been on a verge of collapse due to Israeli-Egyptian blockade. It was only a couple of years later he was included in a rehabilitation program in Slovenia, where he received his prostheses.
In the last war F-16 destroyed his home. Amar couldn’t take it anymore.
He took only his two artificial legs with him as he left Gaza on a wheelchair at the beginning of September. In less than a week he reached the coast of Libya.
If luck ever shone on Amar in the darkest of times it was there. His boat, carrying people to the main ship that was gathering
immigrants for Europe was intercepted by navy. He was arrested and swiftly returned to Gaza. Where was his luck in all of this? The ship capsized. Over 200 hundred people died.
This happened on the same day, September 6, 2014, when another ship carrying some 500 migrants sunk off the coast of Malta after being deliberately rammed by human traffickers.
The majority of people who drowned were Palestinians from Gaza. Some of the first refugees who began this massive deadly journey were the ones who fled Gaza's post-war in September 2014.
Their exodus remains mainly under reported.
“Give me liberty or give me death” project documents deadly immigration from post war Gaza with close up and personal written accounts of migrants and their family members left in behind in Gaza still awaiting official information or any news regarding the faith of their loved ones, who disappeared either in the desert in Egypt or Libya or in the Mediterranean while trying to flee to Europe.
Asking Amar how he feels about narrowly escaping death in the Mediterranean on that day, September 6, would be downright pointless. Living in Gaza he narrowly escaped death several
times. For him, as for so many others, life in Gaza equals slow death. “Soon I will leave again with another group of people going for Europe,” he announced with determination glowing from his
eyes. “And if I don’t succeed I will try again. And then again. I will try to reach freedom until I die.”