Hisham El Farra is 24 years old and in his final year at university where he studies social education. After graduation, though, he’d like to be a businessman, working with imports and exports. Travel is high on his wish list. One place he wants to visit is Spain, primarily to check out the women, he admits with an embarrassed youthful smile. “They are flawless,” he says.
But leaving his home in Gaza may not be possible. Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, the territory has been under an Israeli-led blockade and, like Farra, an entire generation of Gazan youth has come of age without interaction with the outside world. The effect on their outlook on their own lives and that of the country around them is palpable.
Though he looks and acts like he could be at home lounging in any American college dorm, Farra has never been outside the besieged territory, and he is already doubting his own aspirations and ambitions. For one thing, he doesn’t know if he will be able fulfill the numerous requirements needed for Palestinians in Gaza to travel abroad.
He also doubts he’ll be able to find a job. “The situation is very hard. I cannot dream anymore,” Farra says with a sigh, sitting in his friend Jamal El Manshawi’s apartment in the middle of Gaza City.