Home Explainer In Gaza, What Does Eid Mean In Times Of War?

In Gaza, What Does Eid Mean In Times Of War?

On Eid, a minar is all that remains of the al-Farouk mosque in Rafah in southern Gaza, now home to over a million war displaced.

As children run around with infectious joy atop the bombed structure, the happiness has more to do with sighting a drone camera than with festivities.

The holy month of Ramzan is over and it’s supposed to be celebration time but with uncertainty and fear all around, people are literally praying. The ruins bear testimony to the scale of destruction and devastation all around.

It’s a similar story in the town of Khan Younis, also in south Gaza. Just days after Israeli troops pulled out from here, people have started returning to what was once home, now reduced to rubble.

“I checked my home and the home of my relatives, but I couldn’t find any suitable place to live. Everything here is in ruins. I was shocked by what I saw. Now I can only go back to the temporary tent built by the sea,” said Ballbach, a resident of Khan Younis.

At the Jabalia refugee camp, it’s shopping time but the buzz is missing. The loudest voices are those of the handful of vendors trying to hardsell their stuff. There’s little cheer among the faces of buyers though.

The huge piles of omnipresent debris are a stark reminder of what has happened and what could happen again.

Nitin A Gokhale WhatsApp Channel

A festival in times of war has little meaning.

“We call for help, we say God, give us more resources, may you send us water and money for the children to feed their hunger and be happy like the world’s children’… Have pity on the youth, the martyrs, their relatives and the wounded. Everything is dead, there is nothing to hold on to. Our life is all destroyed,” said a desperate Palestinian mother.

In faraway United States, President Biden says he shares the pain of those trapped in conflict zones. “As Muslim families and communities come together for Eid al-Fitr, they are also reflecting on the pain felt by so many. My thoughts are with those around the world enduring conflict, hunger, and displacement, including in places such as Gaza and Sudan. Now is the time to recommit to the work of building peace and standing for the dignity of all,” said the US President in a post on X.

But he still hasn’t been able to persuade his close ally Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who says: “We will complete the elimination of Hamas brigades, including in Rafah. There is no force in the world that will stop us.”

With peace still far away, for Gazans, Eid is just another day of war.

With inputs from Reuters