Katie Orlinsky

Gaza in Limbo

The Gaza strip, an area of only 360 square kilometers, boasts a population of roughly 1.4 million. 80 percent of Gaza's residents, the majority of whom are Palestinian refugees, live in poverty. Since the Islamist political faction Hamas gained power in 2006, the Gaza strip has been subjected to a strict economic embargo. Only basic supplies are allowed into the area, and residents are permitted to cross into neighboring Israel and Egypt only under extreme circumstances. The 2008 war between Hamas and Israel left the already struggling region in ruins.

The people of Gaza have been making do under these difficult circumstances for years now, finding creative and ingenious ways to work within the blockade economy and trying to enjoy life as best they can. Yet patience is running thin.

From the bullet hole in the wall above the child playing on his outdated computer, to the newly engaged couple sipping coca cola smuggled in from Egypt, the situation in Gaza touches everyone. For every happy family that has a picnic on the beach once a week, there is a traumatized family that hasn't seen the ocean in years. There are children that spend their days sorting through trash to find re-usable materials, and there are bright young women that spend their days learning about the world in University (even though they will most likely have nowhere to apply their knowledge after graduation).

Known as "the world's largest prison", it is not the aftermath of the war, Hamas, or the greater Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is the most pressing issue for the people of Gaza today. It is the hopelessness, paralysis and insecurity of every day life. It is having to live in limbo.