I clearly remember that morning. We had all woken up early to go and have a look to the fish market, where the wholesale prices were being discussed, and after febrile offers, the goods were immediately sent to the local markets and restaurants. Fishes were small, but carefully arranged in the boxes, one on top of the other. A large mural was there, depicting the market life, reminding me of an ancient fresco, from the times when fishing was enough to feed people.
Now it is difficult, we are told. Patrols prevent boats from going beyond six nautical miles, despite the all night long fishing, not much is brought back.
The day before, beyond the beach, I had seen all those boats’ lights, all lined up – outlining that impassable border, the same as the one marked by the wall.
“Free Man, you’ll always love the sea,” Baudelaire wrote; here, even this horizon is denied.
But that morning the light was wonderful at the port; the clouds were making the gray of the water and the faded colors of the boats stand out. The largest were laying on their side, the hull gutted by strokes. The smaller ones had been spared, but most of them stayed docked for the lack of gasoline. In the distance some fishermen were busy again, fixing engines, accommodating fishing nets, and they welcomed us with big smiles: in Gaza few foreigners are seen around.
Walking along the pier, we met a man who was patiently fixing a long hanging net. It was there for the migrators: after their endless flights over the Mediterranean, these birds get stuck in the nets when they alight. Small animals, which are easily held in the palm of a hand, the man told us.
I wonder what is left now of that meticulously mended net.