“I am thirty-three years old and I have never been on an airplane,” says Abdel Rahman Zagout, a Palestinian photographer from Gaza. For over ten years, Gaza has been living under severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods that paralyzed its economy. Almost seventy percent of college graduates are unemployed.
Connected to the world by internet and social media, Gaza youth are separated from it by movement restrictions. The majority of them feel that suffocating economy of Gaza has little to offer for their future and place their hopes in finding opportunities abroad. For most of the young Gazans, however, travelling remains an unattainable dream.
Abdel Rahman earned a bachelor’s degree in media from al-Aqsa University in 2008 and has worked as a freelance photojournalist and photography educator for the past ten years. He dedicates his work to documenting bitter realities surrounding daily life in Gaza. The project that won the International Committee of the Red Cross 2018 photo competition tells a story of dreams and hopes shattered by poverty and closure.
The majority of the photographs were taken at Rafah Crossing that connects Gaza to Egypt. Rafah, that is considered the main gateway out of Gaza, opens only sporadically. Abdel Rahman’s work offers an intimate look at the life of Gaza youth, while his images transmit a feeling of desperate isolation.