2016 / Editorial / Conflict

Obliterated Families

  • Photographer
    Anne Paq

Obliterated Families is a long-term project telling personal stories of families from the Gaza Strip whose lives were shattered during the Israeli military offensive in 2014.Out of the 2,200 Palestinians killed in the 2014 summer’s assault on the Gaza Strip, over 70 percent were civilians. 142 lost three or more members, with some families disappearing entirely. While covering the Israeli offensive during the summer 2014, I witnessed the loss of entire families. In the chaotic rush of the hospital corridors, morgues, ambulances and people trying to pull their loved ones out of the rubble, I often only had enough time to get the names of the people I documented. The thought of not knowing their stories, and sometimes even their names was excruciating. Hence, I decided to return several times to learn their stories. In total I have met over 50 families, making this project the most comprehensive visual documentation to have been done on the Palestinian families who were killed—totally or in part—through the summer of 2014. I have gathered memories about those who perished in the attacks, and have looked into the lives of those who survived them - irreversibly changed. Many of the people I've met still live either in or directly alongside the ruins of their bombed out homes. They have no prospects for either a prompt reconstruction of their houses or of justice being served for those responsible for the deaths of their family members. How does a person cope with such a loss?