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4/29/14

The Apollo of Gaza

You are a fisherman, name of Jouda Ghurab, on the Gaza Strip and earn give or take seven dollars a day selling what you catch with a net. In August 2013 you dive into the waters off the strip, looking for sardines, squid, and bream, when you see something. What you see will turn out to have great international implications and will involve Hamas, charged by Israel as a terrorist group.
But for you, it is a beautiful thing, and curious. In his recollection Ghurab said, "The rocks looked strange," for "the underwater waves had dug the sand and moved it out." Swimming to the surface he glanced behind and could make out a dark figure some fifteen feet below. Diving back down, he found a statue of a man, legs covered by sand. But he had fish to bring ashore, a family to feed. Trying visual memory, he swam a little over three hundred feet to shore with his net. He had found something and he knew it. He thought of money, great sums.

He swam back to find the statue. No luck. The sea was big, his body tiring. Then his hands scooped sand away to find the bronze figure, and he tried to lift it. No luck. He left it there.

With six men and a row boat he set out for it again, taking two hours to find it. Using clothesline, to lift it, they almost sank the boat. They finally "walked" it to shore, by spinning it this way, then that, along the bottom.

With it back at his home, Ghurab found that discovery of a priceless art object was easy compared to the fallout for a simple fisherman. Hamas got involved. The Gaza government got involved. International art museums and governments got involved. The bronze statue was taken from his home. More

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