Yasmeen el Khoudary, Theguardian – For the past 11 years, Gaza has regularly featured in headlines as the target of three military onslaughts, an ongoing siege and a humanitarian disaster. Less reported has been the scream of an entire generation pleading for help, their scream falling on deaf ears.
Yasser Murtaja, a Gazan journalist, was a member of that generation – a generation that has largely been confined within the military-fortified fences that surround Gaza from all sides, a generation for whom the right to travel freely remains a distant illusion.
Israels defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said last week that there were ‘no innocent people’ in Gaza
Yasser was shot by an Israeli sniper on Friday, while covering the second Great March of Return. The bullet hit him in the abdomen, the only area not covered by his clearly marked “Press” jacket. He died a few hours later.
Two weeks before his death, Yasser wrote on his Facebook page: “I dream that the day when I can capture this photo from the sky and not from the ground will come. My name is Yasser Murtaja. I am 30 years old. I live in Gaza. I have never travelled!”
Yasser tried repeatedly to apply for the right to travel out of Gaza, but each attempt failed. He was widely mourned by his friends and colleagues, the vast majority of whom, like him, have never in their lives been outside of Gaza. His generation was born into the first intifada, witnessed the second intifada, survived three major Israeli military onslaughts on the Gaza Strip, and continue to live under siege. Moreover, of the 2 million people who live in Gaza, two-thirds are descendants of refugees from nearby towns and villages that were destroyed upon the creation of Israel in 1948, and all are victims of an ongoing Israeli blockade that has turned Gaza into the worlds largest open prison.