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04/07/2024

There will be no Eid in Gaza

There will be no Eid in Gaza

Some might recall Jamie Uys’ 1980 film “The Gods Must Be Crazy” co-produced by South Africa and Botswana. The narrative follows the serene, kind, and content indigenous family living in the Kalahari Desert, whose peaceful life is disrupted by an empty Coca-Cola bottle dropped from an airplane. Perplexed by its unknown purpose and pondering why the gods would send such an object to Earth, the family becomes increasingly unsettled. While the gods traditionally send benevolent offerings like rain for the benefit of humanity, what does this peculiar object mean? After having failed at attempts to use it for various purposes, the patriarch of the family, Nixau, names the object “The Curse” and embarks on a journey to the ends of the earth to get rid of it. 

In today’s context, for humanity, “the end of the world” is no place other than Gaza, where the so-called “civilized world” continues to rain curses upon the “primitive people” even during Muslims’ sacred month of Ramadan. Backed by millions of dollars in support from Western governments, Israel’s warplanes, instead of Coca-Cola bottles, drop tons of bombs from the sky, and even aid packages dropped by parachute result in the deaths of civilians in Gaza.

Palestinians and the health of Kate Middleton

Andy Ogles, a Republican representative from the US Congress, said on February 21st that “think we should kill them all” referring to children in Gaza, and he did not retract his statement despite the backlash. There are undoubtedly numerous ways to kill children; two weeks after Ogles’ statement, two more children were added to the thousands of civilians who lost their lives in Gaza. Five civilians were killed and eleven were injured when the parachute of an aid package dropped from a plane to the Al-Shati camp in Gaza failed to open. This time, the gods of the West sent a cursed aid package to Gaza.

A similar tragic incident occurred again on March 25th. Hamas announced that 18 Palestinians lost their lives due to aid deliveries sent to Gaza by airplanes landing in the wrong areas. Twelve people drowned while trying to retrieve aid that fell into the sea, and six died in a stampede. Hamas called for an end to the “incorrect, misplaced, and useless aerial aid operations”.

Statistics show that civilian deaths in Gaza exceed those in all conflicts after World War II. While ignoring ceasefire calls from around the world and as the United Nations announced that some people in Gaza have started eating grass to avoid starvation, aids too turning to be deadly. One of the recent examples is Israeli soldiers opening fire on hundreds of people waiting for humanitarian aid in Nablus, southern Gaza. 112 people were killed and at least 800 were injured as Palestinians waited to receive a few cans of food and packages of flour. Yet, this incident did not garner as much attention in the world media as the health status of Kate Middleton from the British Royal Family. Only few people heard the words of a Palestinian father who survived the massacre: “I would rather die of hunger than be shot by Israeli soldiers.” After all, the day will come when the grass that people in Gaza can eat runs out!

“In accordance with international law”

The US has provided a total of $264 billion in military and economic aid to Israel since its establishment in 1948. Washington has not conditioned this aid and turns a blind eye to civilian deaths resulting from these aids. Since 1999, the US has provided military support to Israel under ten-year agreements and the agreement signed in 2016 between the two countries, and military aid of $38 billion is on the way. However, as massacres of civilians in Gaza continue, the US remains unfazed; the State Department has stated that Israel is using the weapons they receive from the US “in accordance with international law” and they have received written assurances from Israel regarding this matter. That is, there is no obstacle for the continuation of the largest military aid program in US history and ten-year agreements to finance Israel’s attack on Gaza.

The food aid dropped by the US to Gaza in early March, deemed inadequate by international organizations, recalls Jacques Attali’s words in the “Aid” part of the “21st Century Dictionary”: “The aid from the North to the South will be considered one of the greatest scandals of the 20th century. As if it weren’t enough that three-quarters of this aid was used to finance Northern businesses, the South was also forced to repay this money. Thus, contrary to appearances, the flow of capital has been from the South to the North.”

Zakat and Sadaqah for Gaza

One of the five pillars of Islam is “giving zakat.” Zakat refers to the obligation for individuals who possess wealth in a certain degree to give a specified amount of money to the poor for the sake of Allah. There is no specific time for giving zakat, but Muslims generally prefer the holy month of Ramadan. 

It is known that aid from wealthy Arab countries to Palestine has decreased by 85% since 2020. Unfortunately, the $102 million in economic aid collected by Saudi Arabian citizens after the start of Israel’s attack on Gaza did not stimulate other examples, and it seems that there will be no Eid celebrations in Gaza at the end of this Ramadan, with Palestinian children having to play with empty cola bottles. There will surely be someone to give “sadaqah”.

Tunca Arslan

Journalist (Türkiye), served as a jury member at many national and international film festivals, became the president of the Cinema Writers Association (SIYAD) between 2010-2013, where he previously served as a member of the board for three terms. He worked as the editor for the Dogan Publishing House (2009-2014) and Kirmizi Kedi Publishing House (2014-2018). Columnist in Aydinlik Newspaper and in Kaynak Publishing House

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