“So long as you can still hear, then you are alive.”
Oraib Toukan’s Offing (خط الأفق) is a poetic contrast of beauty and horror, of hope and despair, of life and death, of picture and sound, weaving personal videos and reflections with the soundtrack of genocide.
Images of pink flowers are contrasted with the sounds of bombardment. Images of a ferris wheel contrast with screaming.
As Gaza-based artist and the film’s narrator Salman Nawali tells us, the biggest weapon of war is sound.
“You can’t not hear the sound” — the bombs, the screams, the drones buzzing 24 hours a day.
Nawali describes the changes in routine that lodge in his heart.
They flush the toilet every third time to save water.
He and his wife allow his kids 24-hour phone usage because maybe their headphones will drown out the attacks.
He waits as long as possible to shower because taking a shower is leaving his family, as he can’t bear the thought of them not being together, in life or death.
Faced with ongoing strikes, you quickly lose the fear of death, he says. Instead, you fear partial death, losing parts of your body, losing family members, tragedies that will fill your remaining life with suffering and grief.
It is only by the sea where all is calm, beautiful. The sea is where there is no war on the offing, the horizon.
“How would we live without the sea? Our only breath is the vast space of the sea.”