Having grown up in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, but in one of its less troubled parts, I’ve spent the years since dodging undeserved commiserations. No, daily life wasn’t a constant round of bomb scares and bullets, and I didn’t sleep under the bed in case of shooting (though I’ve met little boys who did). There was plenty of paddling and then swimming, rock-pooling and then fishing; family singsongs that gave way to Friday and Saturday nights at the disco. A place that’s described only in terms of conflict is hardly a place at all.
That’s why I was delighted to see Tanya Habjouqa’s pictures of people at play in the Palestinian territories win an award in the 2014 World Press Photo contest. I’ve embedded a link to those pictures in an extract from Meet Me in Gaza by Louisa Waugh, which was long-listed for this year’s Dolman Travel Book Award.