Images circulating on the internet of youth practicing parkour in devastated Palestinian communities caught my eye last week, and seem to suggest resilience in this war-torn area. Professionally shot photos of children twisting, flipping, and jumping over the rubble of bombed out and destroyed buildings seem to utilize the child's body as a mechanism to dance over the destruction, as an instrument to write in triumph and erase catastrophe.
Business Insider featured such a story in October with the headline "7 Incredible Pictures Of Kids Turning A War Zone Into A Playground"
These stories and images use the child's body to rewrite a story of devastation into one of triumph. The U.N. claims that 7 out of 10 killed in Gaza were Palestinian civilians, with a total of 495 children dead.
While the resilience of children in war-torn areas is astounding, one must ask how Business Insider, Buzzfeed, and others producing similar media, might benefit from using the child's body in this manner; while it is certainly click-bait, it also seems to perpetuate the idea that the child and the people will triumph no matter how much destruction and devastation occurs. In the headline alone, we see the author give children the agency to transform their surroundings into a Western invention of childhood fun and play. In reality, these children are simply being children: finding space to play no matter the circumstances, while adult outsiders assign meaning and symbol to their actions.