Omar Ghraieb is a journalist based in Gaza. With the COVID-19 pandemic turning the world upside down, and opening the door to new possible futures, he shows us his vision for a new Gaza—one quite different from the place he calls home today.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ICRC.
I can’t believe it’s 2025 already. At dawn this morning, as usual, I sneaked to the beach. Was Gaza’s sky always so blue? I felt like I was falling in love with my favorite color all over again. Oh, and the fresh, crisp breeze was so revitalizing! I closed my eyes and listened to the waves flirting with the shore before moving away.
My god, how clear was that water! I laugh now when I remember how I used to use Instagram filters to hide the yellowish tinge of the shore. No more sewage pumped into the sea, no more pollution. I can literally swim along the coastline. My heart twirls in happiness as I write this. Seeing children safely giggling and playing along the shore adds to this happiness, now that our children can finally enjoy life like children their age worldwide.
I still can’t get used to seeing the state-of-the-art cancer hospital that now overlooks the beach. What a beautiful thing this hospital is! Gaza’s cancer patients will no longer suffer or die due to the lack of medical access and well-equipped hospitals.
Who knew that only five years of peace and prosperity could make such a difference! I once thought we would need a miracle before there were no more children, displaced families or unemployed men sleeping on the street or begging on the corniche. A community program now takes care of them all. I’m so relieved.
I remember how often power cuts used to paralyze Gaza. What seems a rarity today was part of daily life only a few years back. The outages were ever-present, long and unforgiving. Now we have electricity 24/7. I know how crucial it is, but ironically, I find it quite boring. No more calm nights spent in candlelight and internet outages forcing us to read or engage with our families.
My friends and I are planning to take a car ride to Jerusalem and spend the night there. It’s only an hour away. Then we’ll hitchhike to Amman and fly to Cairo, all in one day. Only a few years ago I yearned to visit Jerusalem again, but it wasn’t possible. Too many restrictions and checkpoints.
This summer will be like no other. We are working on an event called the “festival of inclusion” camp, which will bring children and youth with and without disabilities together for a summer to remember. We will have an Indian “Holi”-style celebration on the beach, and we will be hurling colors to affirm the vitality of diversity.
We have persons with disabilities and women among our team. After years of hard work, we finally enacted laws that ensure the participation and inclusion of disabled people. No one should ever be left behind. We have more factories and many industries are flourishing, Gaza is exporting its delicious fruits and fragrant flowers again.
Mind you, even though I’m utterly grateful for the myriad of blessings and changes, we still have a long way to go and many problems to fix. But positivity is the key to productivity. Things are far from perfect but changing for the better. Youth and children now have real hope, instead of the drip-feed of false hope they used to live on. We understand the stabilizing pleasure of a sense of safety now, something we never felt before. Uncertainty hasn’t vanished from our lives, but it’s no longer our way of life.
Unemployment is steadily decreasing and there have been no spikes in the statistics counting amputees for a long time now. Youth are finally part of the leadership and their voices are heard. It’s safe to say that youth saved the economy and helped it rise from the ashes.
But what really strikes me is how authentic the streets here feel. We stayed true to ourselves and Gaza maintained its captivating, energizing essence. Palestinians across the Palestinian territories will enjoy peace, emancipation, equal human rights and the right to self-determination.
For now, stay safe and stay home. Don’t forget to wash your hands and think of others.