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Gaza Diaries

A Humanitarian Crisis

How do you address a humanitarian crisis? Late last year, as the Israeli military began its incursion into Gaza, we at Air/Light began to consider a response. We are not policy makers, and we have no influence. What we do have, however, is a platform through which to put front and center the voices of those whose lives have been devastated by the invasion, the Gazans who, even in the midst of an ongoing atrocity, have managed to continue living, to persevere.

With that in mind, we have teamed with We Are Not Numbers (WANN), an organization that pairs mentors with young Palestinian writers and showcases their writing: fiction, poetry, essays, journalism. The resulting pieces are heartbreaking, vivid, personal, and moving—which is to say that they are human.

We stand in solidarity.

Air/Light asked Sarah Jacobus, a Southern California-based WANN mentor, to help us curate a selection of work by nine writers, created both before and after October 7. Much of this material can also be found on the WANN website, although Sarah’s introduction and the short story “Entangled,” by Roaa Aladdin Missmeh, have never previously appeared.

We understand that art won’t stop the bullets. We recognize that art can’t stop the tanks. But what art can do is to stand in witness, to function as a repository of memory and empathy. In the work of these nine writers, we encounter voices that are extraordinary, not only because of the circumstances, but above all because of their humanity.

—David L. Ulin, editor

David Ulin

David L. Ulin is the editor of Air/Light.

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