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Ramadan amidst the rubble of Gaza 

23 Mar 2024 Ramadan amidst the rubble of Gaza

Muscat – These days, Muslims around the world are celebrating the fervent spirit of the holy month of Ramadan like a dear guest that comes only once in a year. However, people in Gaza are living under a pall of gloom, with constant shelling and death everywhere.

This has not prevented them from trying to appreciate the blessings of Ramadan by decorating their tents as their homes lay in rubble. 

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn until sunset and then families come together to enjoy iftar that women lovingly prepare at home. Unfortunately, houses no longer exist in Gaza. There are no food and drinks as a result of Israel’s aggression in the Gaza Strip.

Houses have fallen on the heads of Palestinians in Gaza, and no one has stopped the war of starvation and obstruction of the arrival of humanitarian supplies, which has entered its sixth month. 

Those who are not martyred or injured as a result of the bombings, sickness and hunger are taking their lives slowly. 

According to Integrated Food Security Phase Classification Famine Review Committee – a panel of independent international food security and nutrition experts, including members of the United Nations – 80% of the population of Gaza is classified as experiencing ‘a situation of disaster and famine due to hunger’, while Unicef reported that 31% or one in three children under two years of age in the northern Gaza Strip suffer from acute malnutrition, a staggering escalation from 15.6% in January.

“We are now competing with animals for fodder,” said an old man from Gaza, reflecting the inhuman oppression faced by people on the strip. He appeared hungry and exhausted like the rest of the Palestinians who resist in Gaza.

Hunger in northern Gaza has reached such a point that some people go days without a single meal, and if they eat, their choice is animal feed. On February 28, a two-year-old child, Khaled Hijazi, died in Kamal Idwan Hospital after his stomach couldn’t handle animal feed.

According to Metras, a platform to create research-oriented content on Palestine and its resistance, ‘Every day, hospitals in Northern Gaza and Rafah receive dozens of cases afflicted with food poisoning with a considerable number of these requiring ICU treatment. Doctors in the north attribute cases of food poisoning to people consuming large quantities of herbs and weeds, such as hibiscus and spinach, which are contaminated with remnants of explosive residues. The famine in the north has forced people to eat fodder, spoiled canned goods and rotten vegetables like potatoes.’

The month of Ramadan is characterised by its spiritual resonance, in which people draw closer to God seeking forgiveness, acceptance and winning paradise. Muslims are encouraged in Ramadan to visit relatives and strengthen relationships.

Palestinians in Gaza Strip, from north to south, are deprived of everything because of the bombings by the occupation forces since last October. Homes and mosques have been destroyed, and families have been separated; some are in prisons, others dead or wounded, and many displaced.

During Ramadan, mosques are usually filled with prayers, obeisance and religious sessions, but Gaza is deprived of even hearing the call to prayer. Palestinians are not able to enjoy the spirituality of this month that emanates from mosques. According to the Gaza government media office, Israeli attacks have completely destroyed 223 mosques and partially destroyed another 289 since October 7, 2023. 

Palestinians in Gaza hear the sound of death more than the sound of life. The spirituality and tranquility of Ramadan will be absent in Gaza as long as the Israeli aggression continues.

(Contributed by Ruqaya al Kindi, Bachelor in Journalism and Electronic Publishing, SQU; photos by Belal Khaled )

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