As the sun meets the Mediterranean sea on the horizon of the besieged Gaza Strip, the people of Gaza City like to take strolls to the end of the port, enjoying candy floss and other street food sold along the way.
In recent years, Gaza has seen three major Israeli offensives, the latest of which, Operation Protective Edge, killed over 2,000 Palestinians, including approximately 500 children. The residents of the embargoed coastal enclave are prohibited from leaving by Israel and the al-Sisi regime in Egypt, which recently labelled Hamas a terrorist organisation.
“It’s as far as we can go,” Jehad, a Gazan teenager told Middle East Eye, while walking on the pavement that leads to the end of the blockaded port. “It’s something to do.”
The port has been closed by an Israeli blockade for more than seven years. The blockade reverberates throughout Gaza, causing problems for those who need medical care outside, the students who have been accepted to study at universities abroad, and any resident who has a sense of wanderlust.
Until recently, the dull grey of hundreds of concrete slabs mixed with the more colourful boats used by Gaza’s fishermen to create a scene that was not entirely pleasing to the eye. Now, after an initiative led by the Tamer Institute for Community Education, the concrete outshines the boats.
In January, Tamer began work on a plan to paint the walkway of the port, inviting local artists and youth to work together on the project. Initially, Tamer was only prepared to paint half of the walkway.
“We only bought enough paint - which isn’t cheap - to halfway complete the project,” Ahmed Ashour, the Tamer Institute’s office coordinator in the Gaza Strip, admitted in an interview with MEE. “But the response from the community, youth in particular, was so strong, we knew we had to complete the project.”
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