Issam Adwan is project manager of We Are Not Numbers, a program in the Gaza Strip that seeks to help young writers in Gaza hone their writing skills in English and bring their diverse perspectives and experiences to an international audience. Too often, Adwan says, people outside the Gaza Strip see those who live there as either terrorists or victims; they don’t see their full humanity. Established in 2015, We Are Not Numbers seeks to remedy that by showing not only the hardships of people who live under a punishing 14-year Israeli blockade but also their individual hopes, dreams and talents. The program pairs young writers in Gaza with Western writers and journalists who mentor them and nurture their talents. Adwan talks about the aims of the program, responses to it, the effects of the Israeli siege on people’s physical and mental health, the cruel choices Gazans face as part of their everyday reality.
We Are Not Numbers in GazaMargot Patterson