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What does “My Palestine” look like to a child in Gaza?

They say pictures can say a thousand words, so why do we always insist on words? Gaza has been under a brutal Israeli blockade for more than eight years – collective punishment, as the civilised world would call it. The conditions are so precarious here that the UN says Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020. And as usual, children continue to face the brunt of the blockade on food, supplies, fuel and power. One in five children lives in poverty, while one in ten lives in deep poverty, according to UNICEF. The burden of conflict on children has taken its toll. Under such dreadful conditions, what does “My Palestine” look like to a child in Gaza, who knows nothing else but the devastation around them? Who do they look up to? And, most importantly, could they draw it for us? The DAILY VOX went to find out.

Zeina Al Musaddar, 11, the Holy Family School

zeina
My hero is the Lebanese singer Fairooz. Her songs make me feel relaxed and happy. My favorite song of her is Zahrat Al-Madayn (Flower of Cities) (Al-Quds), because it talks about Palestine and sings about how beautiful Jerusalem is.

Yasser Quider, 11, the Holy Family School

quider
Messi is my hero. He is the best player in the world. I enjoy watching him play a lot, especially when he dribbles through multiple opposing players easily.

Mohammed Nassar, 11, the Holy Family School

nassar

George Clooney is my hero. He makes good movies. Sometimes they are action movies full of suspense, and other times they are funny. I enjoy movies and watching him makes me happy.Editor’s note: in his drawing is the Alzafer residential tower which was completely destroyed by an Israeli air strike during the attack against Gaza August 2014, here is a link of this attack)

Editor’s note: in his drawing is the Alzafer residential tower which was completely destroyed by an Israeli air strike during the attack against Gaza August 2014, here is a link of this attack.

This boy was living there.

Rema Mikki, 11, the Holy Family School

rema

My mother is my hero. She gives me a lot of love unconditionally. She spoils me sometimes and gives me many nice things, like toys, clothes and food.

Raghad Al-Shawwa, 11, the Holy Family School

raghad
My mom is my hero. She understands me the most. I tell her everything, and she helps me with my problems. She is the greatest.

Malak Abu Ali, 11, the Holy Family School

malak

Poet Nizar Qabbani is my hero. I love reading his poems, especially when I want to relax and enjoy my time. I write Arabic poetry, and one day, I will be a famous poet like him

Batool Mashharawi, 10, School of Salaam Children of the Olive Tree‎

batool

My father is my hero. He keeps me safe. He also teaches me a lot of good things. He also helps me with my homework, doing my hobbies, makes delicious food, and doing every year a very lovely birthday to keep me happy and strong.

Khaled Mashharawi, 9, School of Salaam Children of the Olive Tree‎
khaled

My mother is my hero. She understands me the most. I tell her everything, and she helps me with my problems, protecting us during the Israeli attacks. She is the greatest mother in the whole world.

Mays Mashharawi, 9, School of Salaam Children of the Olive Tree
Mays

My teacher is my hero. She teaches me a lot of useful things and makes me very happy. She is always cheerful and nice.

This is part of a special series called Apartheid 2.0, which The Daily Vox is running this month in partnership with Al Jazeera’s Palestine Remix.

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