Jobless Palestinians brave death to migrateMohammed Omer, 24-9-2014
Living in unspeakable conditions, Gaza’s youth are taking incredible risks to escape the strip to find work and dignity in Europe
Scores of Palestinian migrants wait for days at the Rafa crossing with Egypt (AFP)
RAFAH, Gaza City - Ahmed Abu-Ayyad first heard about the devastating shipwreck that killed hundreds of migrants on the news when the television began beaming in images of dead bodies, drowned off the coast of Malta.
The 25-year-old saw that many people were missing, including Palestinians with whom he grew up, and he could feel panic and despair spread through his neighbourhood as families began to mourn their loved ones, fearing but not yet knowing whether they were alive or dead.
But while the memories are still fresh, and people are still reeling from the 13 September disaster, Abu-Ayyad insists that he still wants to travel far away from Gaza. After living through the latest Israeli war - and surviving some seven weeks-worth of bombing and fighting - he says that he has nothing left to lose and dreads staying, more than he dreads the perilous journey to Europe where he says he will at least experience some simple freedoms.
“I just dream of having an ordinary job and the ability to live a dignified life,” said Abu-Ayyad.
“Here, in Gaza, I am not able to have either," he adds, before explaining that the absence of basic human rights drives him to constantly dream of a life that is just not possible under Israel's occupation and blockade.
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