We will probably not understand this. We will probably stare at these images for a long while, trying to make sense of how incredibly strong a person has to be to experience life under missile strikes, and turn death into the most beautiful expression of art. They call it Gazans’ innate “talent for life”.
This is what Tawfik Gebreel and Bushra Shanan do. On the third day Gaza was hit by air strikes, Gebreel, a young lecturer at the University of Palestine, took a photo of the smoke and began to draw sketches on it. “I draw one of them every day, if the electricity cuts allow,” he tells me in an online chat that gets more and more difficult due to the power cut. But he takes his phone battery and finds a way. He always does.
His sketches outline living symbols of liberation and unity. They are an ultimate form of creative defiance. “I can make life out of death because I see freedom in the smoke created by these bombs. This is Gaza in spite of war,” he affirms.
Tawfik is eager to push for his dream of presenting his sketches in international exhibitions and, before we even start the interview, calls for help to spread his hopeful message across the world.
But we will probably not understand this. Because few people in the world have the capacity to outlive confinement and death with imagination like Gazans do.