Chapter ten: A Visit to Gaza: Working in a War Zone




In Gaza we stayed in an elegant hotel built in 1946 and reminiscent of the British Empire. The guest list included UN and other NGO workers. Hibiscus flowers bloomed in the garden and guests smoked narjeelahin the outdoor restaurant.

Delegates and staff stand in front of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program on the left. We interviewed Dr. Eyadel Sarraj, a world renowned psychiatrist and human rights activist and founder of the program, in his office overlooking the Mediterranean.

Posters hanging in the Gaza Community Mental Health Program reminded
us of the intimate connection between mental health, peace, and justice.

Martyrs’ posters are common in refugee camps. The Gaza Community Health Program has documented the large number of children who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, the women who have been victims of violence, and the men who have been imprisoned and tortured, and their desperate need for treatment.

Children grow up with experiences of violence, trauma and loss, and psychologists at the Gaza Community Health Program note that this can be seen in their drawings and play.

We saw children’s drawings showing tanks and missiles on the left and
disabled children looking up at clouds, birds, and sunshine on the right.

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