I’m Still Here is the story of those who remain after the light goes out. After the bombs, after the invasion, after the funerals for the victims. It is the story of those who, year after year, war after war, continue their struggle to put the pieces back together and try to carry on.
I’m Still Here is about the inexhaustible mental strength of these people who, standing in front of their destroyed houses, and despite the tons of explosives, the tanks, the embargo and the imbalance in military force, still find the strength to start again.
“I am not leaving,” they declare when you talk to them. “I’m staying here. They can destroy everything, they can tear down my house, kill my cattle and my plants, but I’m staying here. Because this is where I belong.”
Staying on their land, in their territory, fills them with pride and a sense of dignity. It is the last thing that stays with them and, paradoxically, it is what has made them “win” this war, even though “victory” might not be the most appropriate word…
“Physically, the Israelis had won; all those broken lives and all those smashed buildings and all that destroyed infrastructure do not suggest that the Palestinians have “prevailed” (to use a “Bushite” word). But strategically, the Palestinians have won. They are still in Gaza, Hamas is still in Gaza, and the coalition government of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas appears still to be a reality.” Robert Fisk
What I saw in Gaza brought to mind Walter Benjamin’s idea of investigating fragments in order to discover people’s stories and their meanings. Yet it is not about trying to reconstruct the whole from the fragment, but rather, about understanding what remains, and how these “remains”, these fragments, these slivers, can go beyond the destruction and have a revolutionary and emancipatory impact. Around the disaster, the destruction, the obliteration, we discover how “resistance” is, simply and chiefly, a synonym of humanity and of a shared experience.