By Jim Miles
(Gaza Fights for Freedom. Abby Martin, Empire Files).
A story that is not presented in mainstream media is that of the suffering and punishment of the people of Gaza at the whim of the Israeli military in the open-air prison that is their home.
In “Gaza Fights For Freedom” Abby Martin of The Empire Files has created a documentary that vividly portrays life in all aspects for the people of Gaza.
The documentary uses videos of ‘live’ action in Gaza, mainly from the current events concerning the Great March of Return. It has interviews with the people of Gaza and their concerns, hopes, and ambitions, in spite of 14 years of lockdown and destruction, and shows how they manage to survive in conditions that currently are deemed uninhabitable.
The topics covered are varied but all are centered on the imprisonment and deprivation caused by the Israelis blockading the small territory (about 40 km by 10 km). The Israelis have created a situation where most of the water is toxic, where electricity on a good day maybe lasts eight hours, but often only four and frequently never.
Imports of food are limited, as put officially by the Israelis themselves to put them on starvation rations. Movement is restricted by the Israeli military on all sides, and no construction materials are allowed through to repair the severely damaged infrastructure from recent Israeli attacks.
After a brief historical run through, the main focus of the story is the Great March of Return and the impact it has had on Gaza and the manner in which it highlights the Israeli (and US) military and political leaders’ complete disregard of many international humanitarian and war crimes treaties.
Even though the Great March of Return is non-violent Israeli and western media always present it as a violent attack against Israeli citizens by the Hamas leaders in Gaza, yet the demonstrators themselves say that Hamas has no hand in organizing it.
All Palestinians are terrorists by Israeli definitions even as Israel ignores and abrogates all international law. The UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions are referenced and the video clearly presents Israel as breaking these laws in their actions against women, children, journalists, medical workers, disabled people, and unarmed citizens.
In the purely military aspect, the video explains the Israeli use of illegal exploding bullets that cut into the flesh before exploding creating catastrophic injuries – which then can not be treated properly due to the deprivation of medical materials and medicines.
Another purely military feature is the Israel use of what is called “tear” gas but is a new gas that causes suffocation, hallucinations, and death. The gas is described as a “toxic gas much more intensive” than tear gas, it is “battle-tested”, and “experimental gas”, it is not what normal tear gas does.”
Exploding bullets are banned under weapons conventions and international treaties prohibit the use of chemical weapons such as the gas used by the IDF. It is more than ironic, it is overwhelmingly disgusting, that a people whose main reason for their existence as Israel stems from the mass gassing of their own people, a method they are now experimenting with themselves on another people.
All the great information aside, and all the great journalistic photography aside, “Gaza Fights For Freedom” allows the Palestinians to speak for themselves. Abby Martin serves as an occasional commentator not so much to offer an ideology but so as to introduce a topic or provide a larger perspective on what has already been said. The comments are simple yet powerful:
“The Palestinian people are buried alive”
“Isn’t it time to prosecute the Israeli army”
“We must endure.”
“My ambitions are work, school…joy”
I watched the video on a webinar presented by Canada Boat to Gaza, and the Social Justice Event Collective of London, Ontario.
After the video, Abby Martin was on the webinar live and offered in her clear, concise, and accurate manner to add more comments to the situation. She explained how the video showed the “average day to day life of Gazans” and how the corporate media was “cynical, dehumanizing, atrocious” in its presentation of Palestinians and Gaza.
She says the hero of the film is Razan’s mother, Razan being a young medic murdered by Israeli sniper fire while she was trying to help other injured marchers. On war crimes, she says Israel flaunts them “flagrantly, brazenly” with full US support.
As for the US, she discusses the situation with Israel against the new definitions of antisemitism and the actions by various states to limit the BDS movement. For the latter, her comment is simply,”…foreign interference, much?”
When describing Razan’s actions near the Gaza prison border she said that “courage is being scared but doing it anyway” in reference to Razan’s last day helping others. An item that stood out in reference to western viewers was her statement that you are not antiwar, progressive, or on the left if you support Israeli occupation and the US empire.
Following Abby Martin, a Gaza journalist, Raed Shakshak discussed his situation. Online at 11:00 pm Gaza time, he was using battery power for his computer link. His references were mainly to his work as a journalist and activities with wearenotnumbers.org as outreach coordinator.
The video documentary is available through gazafightsforfreedom.com and a trailer is available for viewing on Vimeo. I highly recommend viewing the video, preferably with a group like a webinar group, or at a local theater – where Abby Martin says it has received large audiences in the US when it has been shown.
– Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews to Palestine Chronicles. His interest in this topic stems originally from an environmental perspective, which encompasses the militarization and economic subjugation of the global community and its commodification by corporate governance and by the American government.