Foreign Policy: Gaza's widow fights for family's life Mirror

Foreign Policy magazine published a report on the situation of widows… Gaza. She tells brutal stories about the deaths of husbands and children, as well as the difficulties widows face in raising their children, and their resilience in the face of grief and trauma.

Maryam Abu Akar twice escaped death when bombs fell on Gaza, report author Neha Wadekar said in a report. But her relatives did not make it. Her 17-year-old daughter, Sarah, was killed and torn in half when a bomb fell on their two-story home on Oct. 17.

After Sarah's death, Mariam (40) relied on her husband Salama for support. Mariam said in an interview at her husband's home: Khan Younis“He helped me cope with the loss of my daughter. He told me everything would be better and that our daughter was in heaven.”

Mary suddenly became a widow

Seven weeks later, while Salama was talking to a neighbor, a bomb fell nearby, killing both men. In the blink of an eye, Maryam became a widow and the sole caregiver for her four remaining children.

Mariam is not alone. Thousands of women in Gaza have been left widowed by the war or forced to care for families, and aid experts fear their worsening plight is being ignored in the humanitarian response.

“I don't know how to deal with his absence, how to raise the children without him,” Mariam said, tears streaming down her pale cheeks. Sometimes, when the kids get mad at me, I tell them, “I'm going to call your dad.” Then I remember he's not here. “

According to the United Nations Organization for Arab Women, more than 2,780 women are widowed in Gaza. Several humanitarian groups say at least 85% of the Las Vegas Strip's 2.3 million people have been displaced and starved of food, fuel, medicine and water as new female-headed households struggle to adapt.

They cannot feed themselves and their families

The authors say these women are now unable to support themselves and their families and lack access to organizations that could help them.

“Much of the burden will fall on women,” said Lucy Taleg, head of women's programs at the Palestinian Center for Conflict Resolution, a Bethlehem-based civil society organization. “They have to be strong – to survive and help their children and start a new life.” Life may be with a husband who is injured and becomes disabled, or it may be with a widow with four or five children to take care of.”

Mariam has been a housewife since her marriage at the age of 20 and has been financially dependent on her late husband, who earned about $9 a day selling clothes at the market.

Maryam continued: “I used to rely on him to raise my children. He was our sole breadwinner. I was not used to taking responsibility alone. I didn't know how to continue on this path with my children.”

a mixture of sadness and shock

For Gaza's widows, the grief and trauma of the war are compounded by the challenges of suddenly becoming the family's sole breadwinner, aid workers say.

Care International said some mothers only eat once a day because they put their children's health first, while warning. world food program Increased incidence of drought and malnutrition.

“Feelings of fear, anxiety, sadness, and anger are increased during emergencies, which are associated with the breakdown of social fabric, family separation, and disruption of support networks,” Protection in Emergencies .

While many women's organizations in Gaza are struggling to continue functioning, CARE International is working with community leaders and influencers to organize support networks and provide psychosocial support, the report said.

Remind everyone to return to normalcy

Sanam Anderlini, founder and CEO of the International Civil Society Action Network, an organization dedicated to women, peace and security, said: “Activities like this are reminders of a return to normalcy and are important to help preserve and protect The human spirit is vital.” “I think as Palestinians we have learned and instinctively recognized that protecting living nature is itself a form of resistance.”

For serious mental health issues, CARE attempts to use existing medical infrastructure to refer people to psychiatrists and provide treatment. However, Gaza's only psychiatric hospital ceased operations in November after being damaged in an Israeli attack.

Helping widows and female heads of households find work and earn money to support their families is a key way to protect women and children from turning to high-risk jobs as their only option, Andellini and Taleg noted. For example, the Palestinian Center for Conflict Resolution plans to help women join the workforce and develop their own money-making projects, and provides seed capital to small businesses.

They will find a way out with the help of the community

“They will do small jobs at home, selling things, but they will find their way with the help of the community. These women have to find a way to survive, and they will do that,” Taleg said.

One of the women, Widad Abu Jama, a mother of six, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers when her 45-year-old husband went to the farm to inspect livestock and find food for his family. Loss of life.

“I feel like I've lost my life, not just my husband,” Abu Jama said, sitting in a crowded classroom at a school now being used as a U.N. shelter. Her children gathered around her, crying from hunger and cold.

Abu Jama added: “I am married and have lived with my husband for a long time and I grew up in his house. We worked together on our farmland. We spent a lot of time taking care of the crops .We built our lives together… Now I will go to the land without him. I will be alone in the crops.”

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