Women & ChildrenWorld

Eid Amidst Ruins: Gaza’s Children Pay the Price

As the holy festival of Eid al-Fitr dawns upon us, the situation in Gaza presents a stark contrast to the joyous celebrations that usually mark this occasion. This year, the streets of Gaza are silent, the markets are empty, and the air is filled with a profound sense of loss. The ongoing conflict has claimed the lives of nearly 34,000 Palestinians since October 7, with children making up a staggering 40 percent of the casualties.

Last year, Palestinians in Gaza marked Eid with a sigh of relief. The mosques were filled with worshippers performing the Eid prayer, families gathered to share traditional holiday fare, and the markets bustled with people preparing for the celebrations. The much-loved al-Remal and al-Seha markets, in particular, were crowded with families purchasing new clothes and sweets for their children.

However, this year, these markets stand in ruins, bombed along with numerous other shopping centers across the Strip. The joyous spirit of Eid, which is fundamentally about children, has been replaced by a grim reality. The children, who once filled these markets with laughter and excitement, now make up a significant portion of the casualties since the onset of the bombings.

The traditional Palestinian dish, Somakia, which is usually shared among families and friends during Eid, is absent from the tables this year. The festivity associated with Ramadan and Eid has been stripped away, leaving behind a somber atmosphere.

This year’s Eid is marked not by celebration, but by mourning. As the bombardment continues, the enclave is preparing to bury more of its beloved children. On the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr, an Israeli strike on the Nuseirat camp claimed the lives of at least 14 people, several of whom were children.

The sorrowful state of affairs in Gaza has elicited a wave of solidarity from social media users worldwide on this auspicious day for Muslims. However, the United Nations Security Council’s resolution calling for a truce during Ramadan has expired with Eid, leaving the region in a state of uncertainty.

The youth of Central Gaza have expressed their despair, stating that this year’s Eid has “no meaning” and is merely a continuation of the bleak Ramadan. UN Secretary-General António Guterres echoed this sentiment in his annual Eid al-Fitr greeting, expressing his heartbreak over the violence affecting Muslims in Gaza.

Today, the once bustling markets of Al Remal and Al Saha are deserted, their streets closed and shops shuttered. The ongoing hunger crisis has forced the few who venture out of their homes to seek aid deliveries, a task fraught with danger.

As we mark this year’s Eid, let us remember the children of Gaza. They are the unseen victims of this conflict, their lives abruptly taken away, their laughter silenced, and their futures uncertain. This Eid, let us not forget the price they have paid and continue to pay. Let us hope for a future where children can once again celebrate Eid in peace, free from the shadows of conflict.

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