Photostory: The brighter side of Gaza

This summer Palestinian American student Sami Kishawi traveled to the Gaza for the first time since 2004, expecting to see war-torn buildings and a “collective sense of devastation.” But as his photos show, he saw a Gaza which is not depicted in the media.

Kishawi told The Electronic Intifada: “The vibrancy of the photos depicts the vibrancy of the way of life there, despite the siege and occupation. … I’m hoping to give people a sense of the humanity of Gaza, beyond statistics.”

A street vendor sells candies along the Gaza coast from a cart reading “Freedom to Palestine.”

Male family and friends host a sahra for a groom on the eve of his wedding. Festivities, which include singing, dancing, food and live music, last until the wee hours of the night.

A healer practices traditional medicine on a patient suffering callous-like spots on his arm. Using a sharp blade, the healer swipes the tops of the bumps, splits open a small seed, and inserts the split seed into a sliced eggplant. The eggplant is hidden in dense foliage and as it rots, the callous-like spots are said to heal.

A street vendor prepares shawarma sandwiches at the Friday market in Gaza City.

A cake shop in Gaza City offers cakes, pastries and party supplies.

A neighborhood toy store in Gaza City.

A man places his sandals at the entrance of a Gaza City mosque.

A street vendor sells FC Barcelona flags and trinkets at the Friday market in Gaza City. The football club has a large following in Gaza.

Pickled condiments on display at al-Thailandi restaurant in the Rimal district of Gaza City.

The gold market in Gaza City.

A donkey-pulled cart is used to collect and distrubute gas canisters in Gaza City.

The recently expanded and ever-popular Kazem ice cream and barrad (a frozen drink special to the Gaza Strip) shop stays busy past midnight.

A soccer team prepares to play a rival team at one of Gaza City’s two grass fields.

A small boat takes leisure-seekers half a mile or so into the Mediterranean Sea for a small fare.

Sami Kishawi is an undergraduate student at the University of Chicago. He is an active member of Students for Justice in Palestine and Chicago Movement for Palestinian Rights, two youth-led movements advocating for Palestinian rights through direct action. He is not allowed into the West Bank.