Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Gaza from the Inside with Brian Barber

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Gaza from the Inside with Brian Barber

Article excerpt

Brian K. Barber, Ph.D., took his Palestine Center audience on a virtual trip to Gaza from Washington, DC on April 6. Barber is professor emeritus of child and family studies at the University of Tennessee, where he founded and directed the Center for the Study of Youth and Political Conflict. Before we set offon our Gaza tour, Dr. Barber gave a short history of Gazans' historical resilience as they faced invaders from Macedonian Alexander the Great to British Gen. Edmund Allenby. Today it's Israel, which forbids filming as iron gates open and close remotely along the long walk from Erez checkpoint through no-man's-land into Gaza.

As soon as Barber catches a cab he begins filming from its front seat and narrating his whirlwind tour of Gaza. They drive to Beit Hanoun's waste water treatment plant and the strawberry fields at Beit Lahiya, past the power plant Israel always bombs, on to Gaza City and the beach, where, he remarks, the new beach road is nearly all paved, thanks to the Qatar fund. His tour captures the tenacity of Palestinians trying to maintain a normal life for viewers, like this reporter, who have never been permitted to enter Gaza.

Barber is nearly finished writing a book (working title: Surviving Betrayal: Coming of Age in the Gaza Strip) about the lives of six men and their families from the Gaza Strip whom he has interviewed regularly for more than 20 years. He first met them as youths shortly after the first Palestinian intifada (1987-1993). He hopes his book will help readers get to know normal, humble Palestinians, who are anxious to tell their stories and not to be defined by numbers and statistics. …

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