The U.S.-Israel-Egypt blockade forced on Gazans has turned it into—what AntiWar Radio host Scott Horton calls—“a prison by the sea”. This documentary for al Jazeera (AJE), Locked In: Life in Gaza by George Azar and Mariam Shahin, looks into the everyday life of Munzer al-Dayyeh, a 40-year-old mechanic supporting a family of eight children in the Gaza Strip. “It’s like we are orphaned,” he says.

Part One (12:06):

Part Two (10:17):

Locked in: Life in Gaza

Filmmakers: George Azar and Mariam Shahin

19 Oct 09 | AJE

Munzer al-Dayyeh is a 40-year-old mechanic living in Gaza. In a land of ruin and disrepair, Munzer is kept busy fixing generators and repairing motorbikes.

In June 2007, Israel placed Gaza under siege and imposed an unprecedented blockade on nearly all movement and supplies in and out of the Gaza Strip.

Munzer is a traditional man from a conservative society where inter-marriage is common.

In Munzer’s case, inter-breeding has brought hereditary problems – most of his children are either visually impaired or physically handicapped.

Munzer can not find any way to get his children out of Gaza to get medical treatment.

Petrol is increasingly expensive, motorbikes not cars are becoming popular. Electricity is sporadic and infrequent, generators are becoming popular. Munzer fixes both.

But while the effects of war and ongoing siege may be good for his business, it has frustrated his attempts to secure medical treatment for his disabled children.

His eldest daughter is blind and clings to the hope of travelling to London for specialist treatment. His eldest son is suffering from muscular disorder.

Besieged in Gaza, neither has the hope of medical treatment abroad.

This film offers an insight into an everyday man struggling to make a living and to find a solution for his family in the unique difficulties of the Gaza Strip.

Al Jazeera spoke to some Gazans about their daily lives, their hopes and dreams for the future, and how the siege affected them:

Doctor Mustafa Al-Hawi, 50, lecturer at al-Aqsa University

Mustafa al-Hawi, holds a Ph.D in environmental management and he currently works as a lecturer at al-Aqsa university.

He lost a job opportunity in Spain due to the blockade.

“I feel very traumatised, pissed off and very sad for not being able to travel and to have the freedom to do whatever I like,” he says. (2:39):

Fadi Bakheet, 27, hip hop group manager

Fadi Bakheet is the manager of a hip hop group called “darasheen, the Arabian revolutionary guys.”

His group missed out on an opportunity to represent Palestine in a festival in Copenhagen due to the siege.

“I don’t think I would leave Gaza if things were better because this is my home, the worst thing about being here is being trapped and not be part of the world community,” he says. (2:31):

Iman Salem, 22, medical student

Iman Salem is a medical student at the faculty of medicine at al-Azhar university.

She lost her scholarship in Jordan university because she could not leave Gaza.

“In these circumstances that we live under now, I would leave Gaza to pursue my dream to become a doctor,” she says. (3:56):

Ahmed abu-Hamda, 39, TV producer

Ahmed abu-Hamda is a TV producer, he feels paralysed under the siege because he does not have the freedom to leave whenever he wants.

Due to the siege he has not been able to see his parents who live outside Gaza, and they have not seen their grand child.

“It is an awful feeling to be under the siege, you feel paralysed,” he says. (1:44):

Mohammed el-Sharif, 39, executive director, Society for Deaf Children

Mohammed el-Sharif is the executive director of the society for deaf children.

He is a Palestinian-American, but he is unable to get his daughters their U.S. citizenship because they can’t get out to start the process.

“Living in Gaza means that you can not exercise your right, everything is out of reach,” he says. (5:33):


For more, read: “U.S. to ‘Continue Standing By Israel’ War Crimes ‘as Loyal Friend’

  1. […] U.S.-Israel-Egypt blockade on Gaza has transformed it in a de facto concentration camp. “Most food products and other goods, including construction material desperately needed to […]

  2. […] its recent massacre of the Strip during Operation Cast Lead. People continue to die in this “Prison by the Sea” as basic medical supplies are not allowed to pass the border by Israel’s decree and […]

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