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Palestine: The Experience Of Ramadan In Gaza

Bloggers in Gaza write about how people are managing this Ramadan, and describe how some traditions are being kept alive.

Lina Al Sharif, blogging at 360 km2 of Chaos, writes:

Ramadan in Gaza is not like elsewhere. The suffering of the people reached the point where some people have water for Iftar, because they are too poor to buy food. Other have their Iftar in a tent in a refugee camp made for those who lost their houses in the war.

Foods are being smuggled from Egypt; however, they are beyond what an average family can afford. The prices of almost everything is doubled due to the siege.

Nevertheless, there are still things to take pleasure in. Lina and her friend Bodour Abu-Kuwaik put together this sequence of Ramadan scenes in Gaza:

Ayman Quader visits a friend for iftar:

Today I was invited to take a Ramadan breakfast in my friend Jumaa’s house. He lives in Al Maghazi Refugee Camp where people still are suffering miserably from the impacts of the War on their houses and streets. Basically, most of the residents of the Gaza Strip are already refugees and during the War they were once again forced to evacuate their houses and flee. I asked my friend to take me around in the camps small pass-ways, as I wanted to be closer to the people actually living there. Indeed, this made me feel strongly how much the people in the Refugee Camp are still in real pain. In the middle of the Al Maghazi Refugee Camp there is still a completely destroyed building – impossible to ignore by the people living in the Camp. I found little children playing on the rubbles of this building which really made me sad. But THEY didn’t mind and seemed to be really happy.

The Paltoday News Network recently reported on unemployed men in Gaza taking on temporary work as musaheratis, who wake people up for the meal before daybreak, suhoor. At her blog In Gaza, Canadian Eva Bartlett writes:

Walking back at 2am, we come across the singing and drumming of the Ramadan Musaher: men who undertake to awaken Muslims for the pre-dawn meal and prayer (Suhoor).

It is a Ramadan tradition that extends to Muslims around the world and still lives today.

On the near empty streets of Gaza, where Ramadans in the last few years have held little happiness and celebration, this sound is somehow encouraging…that culture and tradition live on, in the worst of times and circumstances.

For some, this month and the work of the Ramadan drummer is a source of income otherwise absent in Gaza under complete and strangling siege.

This is some brief footage Eva took:

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