GAZA - As early as eight years ago, the UN warned that the Gaza Strip was at risk of becoming unlivable by 2020. At the beginning of that year, De Morgen journalist Martijn Lauwens went to see what that means. He travelled around the isolated Palestinian enclave for a week and asked the people there how they live, how they see the future and what they dream of.
In an ocean of misery he fortunately also discovered some islands of hope: artists, dreamers, writers, ambitious women and whizzkids doing what sometimes seems impossible in Gaza; building a better future. Sometimes against their better judgement, because the situation seems hopeless. The Israeli blockade strangles an entire society; 98% of the tap water is undrinkable, every day the power goes out for at least 12 hours, unemployment and poverty rates reach unprecedented levels, stress and psychological trauma are everywhere.
Two million people live in an extremely polluted, impoverished and enclosed area of barely 365 square kilometres. Fleeing the Israeli shelling and bombing is not an option, and on top of that, the Hamas government itself behaves like an authoritarian and corrupt regime that does not shun torture and intimidation.
Unlivable? Sure, but the only option the people of Gaza have is to move on. Day after day: survive and hope for a better life.