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Tanya Habjouqa April 23, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Gaza.
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From the series “Women in Gaza”, 2008

Tanya Habjouqa (b. 1975, Jordon) received her masters in Global Media and Middle Eastern Politics from the University of London SOAS. She spent the last seven years documenting for media and NGOs inside Iraq, Darfur, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territory.  Currently based between Jerusalem and Amman, she is working on personal projects exploring socio-political dynamics and subcultures of the Levant. Tanya received the 2007 Clarion Award for Press Photography for her coverage of the Israel-Hezbollah war for Bloomberg media and the 2006 Global Health Council award for humanitarian photography with her coverage of Darfur. She has been published in the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, Focus, Jerusalem Report and others.

About the Photograph:

“In places like Gaza where the devastation is almost unimaginable, I am fascinated by the community spirit and elegance that prevails. Women are continuing to care for their families, strive for education, and pursue careers. This photo was made in the home of Dr. Jamal Al-Shareef, a literature and linguistics professor of Al Azhar university. I nick named him the Dead Poets Society of Gaza as his classes are very popular with the female students of the campus. He holds conversational classes twice a week that are jam packed, and chooses topics like “should women be allowed to go educate in west on their own” or ” why do you choose the fashion you do? Is fashion for you or society” and pushes them to think. Sometimes when they fall into speaking Arabic they become so passionate and he guides them back to English. The girls tell me that this is the only space they have to be creative publicly in an increasingly conservative and difficult Gaza.”

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