Death in gaza
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Death in Gaza. Kerrie Rosheim University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Abraham, N., Miller, J., & Shah, S. (Producers). (2004). Death in Gaza [Motion picture]. Palestine: HBO Home Video. Available from http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/death-in-gaza/. Overview. Portrays the Israeli-Palestinian

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Death in Gaza

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Death in gaza

Death in Gaza

Kerrie Rosheim

University of Nebraska- Lincoln

Abraham, N., Miller, J., & Shah, S. (Producers). (2004). Death in Gaza [Motion picture]. Palestine: HBO Home Video. Available from http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/death-in-gaza/


Overview

Overview

  • Portrays the Israeli-Palestinian

    conflict through the eyes of

    children living in Rafah, a border town in the Gaza Strip.

  • Shows footage of Israeli raids on suspected suicide bombers, children throwing stones at Israeli tanks and bulldozers, Palestinian militants, the destruction of Palestinian homes along the border, children playing “Jews and Arabs” war games, parades honoring Palestinian martyrs, and the indoctrination of Palestinian youth in school.

  • Producer/director James Miller was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier during the filming. Before his death, he had planned to also interview and portray experiences of Israeli children caught up in the conflict.


Ahmed age 12

Ahmed, age 12

  • Ahmed witnessed the shooting death

    of a Palestinian militant whom he admired. This motivates him to work for the paramilitary, mainly sending messages and scouting for Israeli troops.

  • Ahmed goes to school and mosque regularly. He says he “prays the right way,” kneeling five times a day, unlike the Jews. He mentions not liking one teacher and wants to aim a catapult at his head.

  • Ahmed is considered by the militants as a little brother or son, oftentimes replacing ones they have lost. However, one states that when Ahmed is martyred, there are a thousand more to replace him.

  • His goal is to be martyred and speaks of it often.

  • After producer/director James Miller is killed, Ahmed quits working for the paramilitary and dreams of becoming a cameraman.


Mohammed age 12

Mohammed, age 12

  • Mohammed is best friends with

    Ahmed. He wants to be just like

    him. He says he is always with him.

  • He seems to be unaware of Ahmed’s work for the militants and avoids them himself.

  • He worries that Ahmed will die and he will not. Mohammed wants to be martyred along with Ahmed.

  • Mohammed’s mother begs him to change his talk and live. She wants him to go to the university, marry, and be happy. He says it is not possible to have peace.

  • After James Miller’s death, Mohammed, too, wants to become a cameraman.


Najla age 16

Najla, age 16

  • Najla mourns the death of eight

    young family members due to the conflict.

  • Najla fears that she will be shot and killed at any moment, like when she is walking to school.

  • She describes the Israeli solders as cowards who hide behind their weapons.

  • During the film, she loses another relative, a fourteen-year-old boy who was somehow shot while he threw rocks and taunted Israeli soldiers.

  • Najla is left homeless at the end of the film as Israeli soldiers bulldozed her house along the border.


Themes and recommendations

Themes and Recommendations

  • This film shows the power of positive adult role models. The only men the boys want to be like were militants and martyrs until they met James Miller. Part of this film’s legacy is their new inspiration and vision to be like him.

  • Death at Gaza tragically shows these children’s worldview of weapons, death, and conflict where they grow up dreaming of shooting rocket launchers to kill soldiers and being killed themselves. Children write farewell letters to their families in hopes of being martyred.

  • This film demonstrates the power of environmental influences as militants, suicide bombers, and innocent victims alike are glorified as martyrs and their deaths are used as propaganda to recruit more militants. Families are not to mourn but rejoice over deaths. Ahmed says martyrs are very happy as they go to heaven and see all their martyred friends.

  • Unfortunately this film does not find reason to hope that these young people will grow up any different than the generations preceding them who have continued the conflict. Context will not allow it. One of the most chilling moments is when Ahmed’s charming little sister, about age four, calls Jews “sons of dogs” when he mother asks if she likes Jews. She has never met a Jew.

  • I recommend this film to help us understand more

    about deeply-seeded conflict and violence and how

    they impact youth. Death at Gaza shows how

    children get caught up in the violence, how their

    upbringing and education contribute to their hate,

    and how powerfully they are influenced by others.


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