Gaza War Cemetery
The Palestinian gardeners trim the immaculate lawns. Blood red Bourgainvilleas climb the limestone walls. The British are good at death. My eye through the camera focuses on many of about three and a half thousand gravestones caught by the name, the unit or the inscription chosen by the family. 3,217 of these fell in WW1 and were joined by 210 brothers and sisters from round the pink world in WW11. The family of Private Alfred Crittle, Royal West Kent Regt 19th April 1917 said ‘to see his face, to hear his voice, what would we give’.
Alongside lies Rifleman Norman Victor Crouch 8th Battn. Hampshire Regt and his folk chose ‘faithful until death’. They later receive this as do all the next of kin:- ‘He whom this scroll commemorates was numbered among those who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, by giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom.
Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten’
He took his last breath during the Third Battle of Gaza on the 2nd of November 1917 as did at least another two hundred men and women on that same day.
Gaza - Autumn 2006 --- The thin and limpid crescent lies on its back in a clear sky. If it does not reappear tomorrow then Ramadan will end. A 'drone' can be heard above the amplified recitations of the Quran, but it cannot be seen.
On the third floor of the battered and very busy Shifa hospital here in Gaza city lies a 9 yr old boy in his fourth month of recovery. Saad is a sad and frightened boy. He has lost all the muscle from the front of his left thigh. The shape of his femur can be seen in its entirety beneath the skilful skin grafting. There is just a twitch of motion in the foot. Most parts of his young body are scarred. There are many of punctate type, including on his face. There is a colostomy which will probably be permanent because his bowels were badly damaged. The tracheostomy has healed, and the pleural fistula is well on that way.