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Ramadan in Palestine: A Holiday in Ruins

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ODU chapter.

Ramadan is a holy month in Islam that is celebrated by Muslims all over the world. It is a month-long holiday dedicated to becoming a better person and a better Muslim. During this month, people come together as a community to decorate for Ramadan with lanterns, lights and other decorations, similar to what Americans do for Christmas. Able-bodied Muslims are expected to fast from sunrise till sunset, meaning they can not eat or drink (yes, not even water), and eventually they break their fast during a meal called Iftar. For Iftar, it is customary to have a variety of food, enough to replenish a person’s energy after a long day without eating. This month creates a spiritual atmosphere full of solidarity where Muslims can pray, reflect and celebrate what they have. However, this is not the case for Palestinians, as they are forced to celebrate this month in a war-torn country. 

For the past six months, the Palestinian people have not known peace thanks to Israel’s relentless attacks on Gaza; attacks that have killed over 31,000 innocent Palestinians, including women and children, and led to thousands being displaced. Despite all that, the Palestinian people are still trying to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan in an attempt to create a semblance of normalcy. However, the sound of celebration is overshadowed by the sound of Israel’s drones and air strikes, which serve as a constant reminder to the Palestinians that they will not be able to celebrate this holiday in peace. 

Instead of spending their days praying and preparing for Iftar, as is customary during Ramadan, the Palestinians spend their days wondering if the next attack will be the one to kill them or if they will even be able to find food to break their fast. They can not even depend on aid coming in because the Israeli inspection forces control the borders and regularly disrupt the aid delivery. Some Palestinians have even resorted to scavenging through trash to find food, and even then there’s barely enough. There are also people who have made no attempt to prepare for Ramadan due to the Israeli occupation and constant attacks; they have already “been fasting for five months,” Maha, a Palestinian mother, reported. What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinian people is inhumane. They do not see the Palestinian people as human, refusing even to allow them to celebrate a holy holiday in peace. There are still organizations like the World Food Program attempting to help feed the people in Gaza, but it is not enough. People need to continue to bring attention to what is happening in Palestine before it is too late.

Donations to help Palestinian families can be made at Operation Olive Branch.

For a more in-depth analysis of the war in Palestine and the history behind it go to DecolonizePalestine.com.

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