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Witness
Hostage To Fortune
Two journalists chart the rise and fall of hope in Gaza following the Israeli army withdrawal in 2005.
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2009 10:37 GMT



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Director: Mariam Shahin

Journalists George Azar and Mariam Shahin moved to Gaza City in February 2005 in a time of hope. They had just published the first English-language travel guide of historic Palestine. History was about to happen in Gaza. The Israelis had announced their intention to end their 38-year occupation of the Gaza Strip. Palestinians envisioned a better life.

Living in Gaza, George and Mariam came to know Gaza's artists, athletes, archeologists, business people and development workers. They filmed high school graduations, harvests and weddings. They witnessed the upsurge of hope and optimism as the Israelis withdrew.

Staying in Gaza, they covered the subsequent events: Jewish settlements were reclaimed; Hamas were elected; the 2006 summer war with Israel erupted; and then fighting between Fatah and Hamas broke out.

Gradually they witnessed the descent into turmoil, the crushing of hope and the emergence of despair. They covered Israeli massacres and militant funerals. Their local fixer and long-time friend became part of a major news story when 18 members of his family were killed in an Israeli bombing in 2006.

They witnessed Israel's military encirclement of Gaza, its deadly bombardments and ground invasions. They saw first-hand the effects of the international blockade on Gaza and the battles between Hamas and Fatah. And they covered the increasingly serious issue of hostage-taking.

Through the eyes of two filmmakers, this film charts the rise and fall of hopes and dreams in Gaza.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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