Gaza, the 2019 film, is like an historical artefact

Rashmee Roshan Lall
2 min readFeb 22, 2024

Last night, I saw Gaza.

On screen.

As it used to be. In 2019.

Andrew McConnell and Garry Keane’s documentary on the 25-mile Gaza Strip runs an hour and 40 minutes. In less than the time it would take to get to the other end of London and back, they transport us to a different place, time and reality. They made the film, Mr McConnell said, because almost no one did. Gaza had been pretty much abandoned by the world. No one went there, if they could help it. No one cared. After Hamas took office in Gaza, more than 15 years ago, it became a forgotten place.

In the film’s telling, Gaza is under siege.

It is stifling (especially for the young, who restlessly look at the expanse of ocean and long to sail away, to see the world).

In the documentary, Gaza, is short of many of the world’s goods. More to the point, it is short of the legitimate attention it should receive as a long-occupied territory that’s denied many basic human rights by its overlord, Israel.

But in the documentary, Gaza is alive. Raucous. Laughing. Singing. Telling stories. Dreaming by the sea.

Watching the documentary, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the people onscreen.

Karma, the cello-player, whose mother was born in Jerusalem, Al Quds, and wonders if it was selfish and imprudent to bring children into the world in an open-air prison like Gaza.

Ahmed, 14, who belongs to a large family that lives in a three-room house, and aspires to captain a big fishing boat. His father, who boasts that he may be the only man in Gaza who’s sired 40 children.

The rapper in a wheelchair.

The taxi driver.

The theatre director.

The paramedic.

Fortunately, Mr McConnell was online from Beirut to offer some answers. Many of the people we saw in the 2019 film are still alive, he said. But some, he couldn’t trace, he said. Not surprising for a territory that has been all but destroyed.

As things stand, Gaza, the film, is like an historical artefact, a window into a past that lives mostly in memory.

Originally published at



Rashmee Roshan Lall

PhD. Journalism by trade & inclination. Writer. My novel 'Pomegranate Peace' is about my year in Afghanistan. I teach journalism at university in London