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These Photos Capture Life Beyond War and Tragedy in Palestine

This image, simply entitled "Seen in Gaza" shows two Palestinian men in Gaza overlooking their destroyed city which was destroyed by an Israeli attack

This image, simply captioned “Seen in Gaza” shows two Palestinian men in Gaza overlooking their city, which was destroyed by an Israeli attack.

Ever since Brandon Stanton‘s hugely popular Humans of New York (HONY) page launched in November 2010, hundreds of pages from around the world have followed suit. The theme, which is fairly common to all the pages, is rather simple: a photographer or a group of photographers go around a neighborhood, village, city or country and ask people questions accompanied by a memorable portrait.

The project has reached all corners of the planet, from Rio De Janeiro to Tehran, passing through most countries of Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. The projects’ awareness-raising potential hasn't gone unnoticed, as one commenter on a recent HONY image said: “I look forward to these posts every day now. They restore my faith in humanity.” This comment received over 7,000 likes.

In the occupied Palestinian territories, awareness-raising is certainly needed. And that's what “Humans of Palestine” set out to do. When Global Voices Online asked Jafar Zuabi, one of Humans of Palestine's team members, to describe the idea behind Humans of Palestine, he explained:

Humans of Palestine was created to reflect the dreams of Palestinian people and their daily lives. But since the offensive started, the page aims at restoring the humanity that is often stripped away when Palestinians are reduced to calculative deaths, forgettable names, and burned and mutilated bodies, rather than people who shared loved ones, stories, dreams and aspirations.

The image, shared on August 15, is captioned: "This is the first baby to be delivered by me. His name is Mazen. The labor was under the supervision of Dr. Nashwa Skaik at al-Shifaa hospital. This is one of the greatest moments in my life."

“This is the first baby to be delivered by me. His name is Mazen. The labor was under the supervision of Dr. Nashwa Skaik at al-Shifaa hospital. This is one of the greatest moments in my life.” (link)

The page, which boasts over 22,000 followers on Facebook and 7,500 on Twitter, stands out from other HONY-type pages in its coverage of both Palestinians in Palestine as well as those in the diaspora, both refugees and emigrants. Indeed, the Humans of Palestine team covers Gaza, the West Bank, Israel, Palestinian refugee camps across the Arab world and the Palestinian diaspora.

How does it work? Jafar replied:

We at Humans of Palestine work as a team of five: The founder of the page, Anas Hamra from Gaza; We'am, Haneen and myself from Ramallah; and Niraz from the Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria.

We ended our conversation with a touch of optimism:

We think we are making a difference. Our message is reaching the Arab and the western countries more and more every day.

Here are a few of the photographs shared on the page:

"Noor, is a passionate young girl from Gaza, she's always wanted to start her own Palestinian English channel in Gaza, but she didn't know that the first news to report would be a "War" on Gaza! Noor stands where Israeli military destroyed a whole neighborhood called Shujaiya and she is making a report about it" (link)

“Noor, is a passionate young girl from Gaza, she's always wanted to start her own Palestinian English channel in Gaza, but she didn't know that the first news to report would be a “War” on Gaza! Noor stands where Israeli military destroyed a whole neighborhood called Shujaiya and she is making a report about it.”
(link)

"I was sitting opposite  Naji Al-Ali's (Palestinian cartoonist) grave, thinking of all the great people Israel had wiped off the map, and how they all stay in our lives. When I think of those people, I don't think of them as 'dead'. So what's death after all? It is as Ghassan Kanafani deliberately put it: "A man is, at the end of the day, a cause." When I think of martyrs, I don't think of them as numbers. They are people with collective memories, families, dreams- which all was simply taken away from them. The idea brings my defenses down. For those who gave their lives ardently, for those whose dreams were brutally taken away, all the tears of the world will not bring your pure souls back. I salute you"

“I was sitting opposite Naji Al-Ali's (Palestinian cartoonist) grave, thinking of all the great people Israel had wiped off the map, and how they all stay in our lives. When I think of those people, I don't think of them as ‘dead'. So what's death after all? It is as Ghassan Kanafani deliberately put it: “A man is, at the end of the day, a cause.” When I think of martyrs, I don't think of them as numbers. They are people with collective memories, families, dreams- which all was simply taken away from them. The idea brings my defenses down. For those who gave their lives ardently, for those whose dreams were brutally taken away, all the tears of the world will not bring your pure souls back. I salute you.” (link)

- How would you describe yourself? - I am not as sneaky and demanding as most people would think

- How would you describe yourself?
- I am not as sneaky and demanding as most people would think (link)

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