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Growing older in the darkness

February 10, 2010

The owner of Masoud Pharmacy, sitting by gaslight. Photo: Mohammed Ali Abu Najela

Palestinian children participate in a candle-light demonstration after Gaza plunged into darkness on Nov. 10, 2008. The only power station in Gaza Strip was forced to shut down on Monday due to the Israeli blockade of fuel deliveries, leaving 800,000 people into blackout. (Xinhua Photo)

It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun—
My dream.
And then the wall rose,
Rose slowly,
Between me and my dream.
Rose until it touched the sky—
The wall.
I am black.
I lie down in the shadow.
No longer the light of my dream before me,
Above me.
Only the thick wall.
Only the shadow.
My hands!
My dark hands!
Break through the wall!
Find my dream!
Help me to shatter this darkness,
To smash this night,
To break this shadow
Into a thousand lights of sun,
Into a thousand whirling dreams
Of sun!

—’As I Grew Older,’ Langston Hughes

Gaza, plunged in darkness, 2007-1010.

(Photos in order of appearance: AFP / Oxfam / Medical Aid for Palestinians / Hatem Omar for Maan Images / Xinhua / Wissam Nassar for Maan Images)

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