Global Lens Reflections on life, the universe, and everything

Gaza girls

Girls exercise in the physical education class at Al-Zaytoon School, located in the Jabalyia Refugee Camp in the war-torn Gaza Strip.

After last week’s image from below, I thought I’d continue the theme. Here’s an image I captured in Gaza, during the physical education class of a girl’s school in the Jabalyia refugee camp. At a time when it remains fashionable in the U.S. to demonize and dehumanize Palestinians, particularly Palestinian Muslims, it’s a visual reminder that they are normal people. One of the gifts of photography is the ease with which it can subvert dominant narratives. Anyway…

For some time the girls had been racing around the school courtyard, with me faithfully capturing their exertions. At the end of the class they formed a big circle holding hands. They then ran together into the middle, laughing as they tightened the circle, and then backed up to make the circle wide once again. Then they repeated the process. Your faithful correspondent, ni lento ni perezoso, jumped into the middle and lay down on the ground, pointing the camera skyward. It was early enough in the morning that the sun wasn’t high and casting horrible shadows on the girls’ eyes, and with the blue sky as background to their hijabs, it worked well. When the girls ran into the frame, I would press that little button that makes magic happen inside the camera. I like this frame best, in part because of the disembodied hands on the right side that keep the photo a bit off balance. By the way, part of why the girls are laughing is that they were trying really hard not to step on me.

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