It is hard to even imagine how it would be like working, playing, dreaming, and even surviving in the world’s largest open-air prison. The documentary “Born in Gaza” provides an intimate, deep look – leaving aside political debates – of how violence transforms the lives of ten children. A deeply human vision of the war and its consequences. It is a documentary that was filmed during and after this latest war between Israel and Palestine. It is very raw in terms of storytelling since it tells this story through the eyes of children living there.
The director Hernan Zin’s choice to place children as central narrators underscores the brutality that even the most innocent have to bear in Gaza. In some of the film’s most difficult moments, a group of boys revisit the beach where they had been playing football when four of their cousins were killed by Israeli shelling. The boys who survived have been left with crippling trauma and a lot of physical and emotional scars. It is this trauma and scars that makes one wonder how these experiences can impact learning, behavior and relationships at school given that these children go back to schools. The number of emotional setbacks they have to suffer when seeing a beloved one getting killed in front of their eyes is something that may take years to subside. They may not even feel like going to school in the first place.
Apart from that, in these conflict times, where finding security becomes the ultimate goal, the problem of education becomes very secondary. Schools are forced to shutdown due to the fear of being attacked. According to UNICEF, more than 123,000 children had to discontinue their schooling following Operation Cast Lead in 2012.
I think anyone who has not seen the film should give it a shot, it is well worth your time. It is important to see how they are dealing with the issues of conflict.