April may not be over but we couldn’t wait another millisecond to tell you all about this must have item. It’s so far beyond a must have, it’s more like a can’t-live-without. This April we are going gaga over this beautiful book called “Little Faces of Gaza” for its powerful and touching message.
One of our MM founders, Jenan Matari, recently took on compiling and creating a very important photo-book. And it’s exactly what it sounds like. A compilation of tiny faces and mini-stories of Gazan children who were killed during one of the unforgettable attacks on the Gaza strip in 2014.
The purpose of this project was to put a literal face to the injustices that occur in Gaza and to portray the stories of the Gazan people in respect and honor, because they are certainly more than the graphic images we have become so desensitized to.
The book launched this month and every single proceed from the book sales will go towards funding school supplies for Palestinian children and help pay medical expenses for Palestinian families.
MM: Have you always been outspoken about being Palestinian?
“The summer of 2014 was really when I became outspoken about my Palestinian heritage and publicly expressed my support for Palestine.
I remember being in Brazil when the Gaza bombings first started. I don’t know why, but being Palestinian, I basically grew up desensitized to the violence in my family’s homeland because we heard something awful literally almost every day – but this time it really hit me. Maybe it was because of the ages next to the names of the victims. ‘3-year-old Salma. 5-month-old Karam. 13-year-old Mohammad.’ There were too many children.”
“There were too many children.”
How did you come up with the idea for the book?
“On the start of the one year anniversary of the 51-day Gaza bombings I decided to create a little social media project – mainly to remind people of the tiny victims that suffer at the hands of adults at war, because people forget. I didn’t want these children to be forgotten.
So I started a series of posts, and for 51 days I would post the names, ages, stories and whatever photos I could find of the children who had their lives stolen from them. I had one rule throughout the whole project – no graphic images. Those never resonate with people. So I began to share beautiful photos of beautiful children – wide eyed with smiles from ear to ear – in an effort to make sure that these children were not just a number to people. In hopes that when people saw their innocent faces and heard their playful stories that they would finally understand the true consequences of “war” (it was not a war) and violence.”
Tell us about the process it took to create the book.
“I’d do a little bit of research every day. I’d find the list of names of children who died on each day and from there look into each child some more – hoping to find a photo and a story. I’d do two days at a time – that’s really all your soul can take during a project like this. It took a lot of research on a lot of different international websites. My information is still missing some names and is not perfect – mainly because a lot of information is not available to the public, but I gathered up as much as there was in my reach. Eventually at the end of the project I had realized that I had perfectly laid out the contents for a book. I’d be able to truly memorialize these children who have changed my life and my goals forever.
It took me about another 9 months to perfect the information I had and create a design with my designer. My friend and fellow Palestinian activist copy edited the content for me and then one day – I had this beautiful 6 x 4 inch book in my hands. We decided to keep the cover design as simple as possible, so not to take away from the meaning of the book and to really embrace Palestinian culture. So the cover is a simple copy of red Palestinian embroidery from a traditional Palestinian thobe (cultural dress). And inside, are The Little Faces of Gaza.”
If you’re interested in buying a copy and supporting the cause, please go here and share this post! #FreePalestine