In the year 2014 Israel decided that yet again it was going to bomb Palestine and in particular the Gaza strip. The Israeli’s possess some of the most high tech weaponry ever known to man, whilst the Palestinians can only respond with the equivalent of firework. The bullying has been going on for many decades as Israel seeks to steal more of the Palestinian people’s land.
It was in the summer of this year where this assault started again, and it was to devastating effect to the people of Gaza, many casualties and injuries were to occur, and with very limited medical facilities or even access to basic needs like food and water the World started to pay attention at last. With social media and the ability of the use of live feeds and camera footage, the people there were finally able to show the World what was happening.
It was at this time where I had just started to pay the cause more attention myself when I saw a Twitter update from a girl in Gaza called Lana Shaheen, it was basically expressing her fears as the bombs were falling, and begging the World to help. When I saw this Tweet I knew I had to contact her somehow, even if it was just to offer a word of comfort because I could literally feel the fear in what she had written. What developed from there was quite remarkable as I tracked her down a kind of sister relationship began.
During the bombing I was able to directly message Lana as the bombs were raining down around her block of flats. She would describe to me the deafening noise of the bombs falling, how terrifying they were. How all her little sisters and her would be hiding under a table in the basement of the building preying they would not be killed. All I could do was offer my support and love even though I wasnt sure whether or not she would make it from one day to the next.
There was a point during the bombing campaign where I lost all contact with her, a day past and I was convinced she may have been killed. It bought me to tears because although I wasnt in Gaza, what she had described to me was so graphic I felt like I was there next to her. There was literally nothing I could do until all of a sudden in the afternoon I received a message. It was her and she was ok, the electricity had been blown out that night.
Following that day we continued to keep in touch and I could only try to encourage her as she told me her dreams of one day becoming an artist and showing the World in pictures of her story. I knew that this was a very brave and courageous soul I was talking to and told her to never give up hope and that the World was waking up to what was happening. Down days followed as sometimes she couldnt even draw because she couldnt afford to buy the crayons and its impossible almost to get money into Gaza due to the enforced and inhumane lock down placed on the area.
Many days and weeks followed where we had conversations where she wanted to give up but she didnt. She never stopped dreaming and she never stopped hoping that one day she would showcase her abilities for the World. Well as we fast forward to almost 2019 Im very proud to say that this brave young lady is living her dreams. Last year she obtained a sponsorship to go to the States where she spent time and her work is now being showcased in many places. She has also appeared on television and has done public speaking. To say Im proud is an understatement. For anyone who would like to follow her or her work please check out the links below.
You can also follow her on Facebook and contact her at