‘Smile, You’re in Gaza.’ It’s a saying here in this small strip of land known as the Gaza Strip. In an area only 27 miles long by 6 miles wide there is an astounding 1.8 million people and the population is expected to hit 3 million by 2020. This is the most densely populated area in the world.
The saying is said with a smile and a shrug to wrap up any description of current life in the strip. For example… “We cannot fish more than 2 miles off our coast in the Mediterranean Ocean or we will be shot by gunboats…. smile, you’re in Gaza.”
“The power is out 16-18 hours per day… smile, you’re in Gaza.”
“We cannot leave the walled in strip without a permit which you cannot get unless you are 60 years old…smile, you’re in Gaza.”
“We have no hope for tomorrow. We can only live for today… smile, you’re in Gaza.”
You get the idea. My friend Jawdat, a Gazan, has a good philosophy, “Don’t think about the situation in Gaza everyday. It will drive you crazy. Try to smile.”