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Eid in Gaza: A Sad Celebration Overshadowed by Hunger and Sorrow

As the holy month of Ramadan came to an end, the people of Gaza found themselves marking what many have called the ‘saddest’ Eid in recent memory. The ongoing conflict has cast a long shadow over the celebrations, turning a time of joy and togetherness into a period of mourning and hardship.

On the first day of Eid al-Fitr, a day that should have been filled with happiness and celebration, the war continued unabated. A strike on a home in Nuseirat refugee camp resulted in the tragic loss of 14 lives, including children. The aftermath was a heartbreaking scene, with family members holding onto the lifeless bodies of their loved ones.

Despite the relentless conflict, the people of Gaza did their best to observe the end of Ramadan. They gathered at dawn outside the city’s Al-Farooq Mosque, which had been flattened in the bombardment. One worshipper, Khairi Abu Singer, expressed his sorrow that the relentless attacks had even "deprived Palestinians from praying inside their mosques".

Ahmed Qishta, a father of four, shared his struggle to find joy in the midst of such adversity. “We prepared sweets and biscuits from the aid we got from the UN and now we are giving it to the children. We try to be happy but it is difficult,” he said. He also mentioned that they went to pray at the graves of family members killed in the war before going to the Ibn Taymiyyah Mosque for Eid prayers.

Abir Sakik, who had fled her home in Gaza City with her family and was now living in a tent in Rafah, echoed these sentiments. She had no ingredients for the cakes and sweets she would usually make for Eid. Instead, she made cakes from crushed dates. “We want to rejoice despite all the blood, death, and shelling,” she said.

The United Nations has warned that the besieged territory is on the verge of famine. With little to feast on for the 2.4 million residents of Gaza, up to 1.5 million of whom are crammed into camps around the far-southern city of Rafah, the usual joyous family gatherings were replaced with a struggle for survival.

Yet, despite the immense challenges they face, the people of Gaza continue to show remarkable resilience. They are determined to find joy in the midst of sorrow, to celebrate their faith and their community, even as they mourn their losses. This Eid may be the ‘saddest’ one they have marked, but it is also a testament to their enduring spirit and their unwavering hope for a better future.

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