Gaza the indomable

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As proud as its name, Gaza has always been the nightmare of every conqueror, capable of being reborn every time stronger than before

The words of Ibn Battuta

Ghaza, the first city to be found arriving from Egypt, with large spaces and no walls around. Densely populated, there are beautiful markets and many mosques: once it had a splendid Friday mosque, but today another one is used, recently built by the Emir al-Jawali, an elegant construction of solid workmanship, with a minbar of White marble.


“The travels” of Ibn Battuta

Gaza of the Philistines

The first remains of Gaza date back to 1500 BC. and they would trace its foundation back to the Cretans, who arrived in modern Palestine to create a new colony. Unlike the Jews and Arabs, in fact, the Philistines were of Indo-European origin, which has always linked them to the mysterious “Sea Peoples“, with which they seem related. In any case, they immediately presented themselves as a problematic people for the Jews who, once the Exodus was completed, found themselves fighting them over and over again, without however subjecting them completely.


Even the subsequent rulers faced it with difficulty, so much so that it was only under the Persians that it surrendered and prospering enough to rival Sardi, the city that invented the coin. Precisely for this reason it was long disputed by Alexander the Great, who spent a siege of 2 months, and by the Romans, who rebuilt it as beautiful and almost as important as Jerusalem.

Gaza the precious

Gaza was among the first cities conquered by Amr ibn al-As in Palestine, quickly becoming one of the most important places of Islam in the region. According to tradition, in fact, the great-grandfather of the prophet Muhammad, Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, was buried there; Furthermore, Muhammad ibn Idrīs al-Shāfiʿī, the founder of the madhab Shafi’i, one of the four Islamic law schools, was born in Gaza.

غزة in Arabic means “fair, strong”

Due to its not very strategic position, the city was conquered by every regional power that was created including: Abbasids, Fatimids, crusaders, Ayyubids, Mongols and Mamluks; nevertheless managing to re-emerge even stronger and more prosperous. In 1516 Gaza was conquered by the Ottomans, who installed the Ridwan family, who will be the last to make the city really important. With the fall of this lineage, in fact, it gradually lost its importance, undergoing the bubonic plague of 1839 and being subjected to an empire now in sharp decline.

Gaza the fierce

With the fall of the Sublime Gate, after the First World War it was assigned to Great Britain in the notorious British Mandate of Palestine, following the bitter fate of its people. In 1947 Gaza was entrusted to the Arab state, but was taken from Egypt following the First Arab-Israeli conflict; after the 6-day war, it suffered military occupation by the Zionist army, which reserved life for the First Intifada of 1987.

Mustafa Hassouna
A’ed Abu Amro portrayed by Mustafa Hassouna for Anadolu Agency

In fact, this occupation lasted until 1993 when, thanks to the Oslo Accords, it was freed by the Palestinian National Authority; however, the clashes with Israel did not cease, so much so that it suffered the “Operation lead melted” of 2008, the “Operation column of clouds” of 2012 and the “Operation margin of protection” of 2014. Even today, this area suffers the most devastating effects of Israeli politics, being almost entirely bordering on the Zionist state.

Silence for Gaza

[..] Enemies can get the best of Gaza. (The rough seas can have the best on a small island.)

All trees can cut it.

They can break its bones.

They can plant tanks in the guts of its women and children. They can throw it overboard, in sand or in blood.

But it:

will not repeat lies.

It won’t say yes to the invaders.

It will continue to detonate.

It’s not about death, it’s not about suicide. But it is the way Gaza declares that it deserves to live.

“Silence for Gaza”, Mahmoud Darwish

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