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No International Women’s Day for Gazan Women

8 Mar 2024 20:43

Islam Times - Newlywed couples set out on journeys filled with love, excitement for progress, and growth. However, the reality for brides and grooms in Gaza paints a different picture. The initial moments of a newborn's arrival typically represent one of a mother's most beautiful experiences – a time marking the end of a long wait and the beginning of a life filled with love and hope. Unfortunately, for mothers in Gaza, the scenario takes an unexpected turn.

Imagine a family gathering where children play joyfully, and parents are deeply engaged in preparing a meal. As the aroma of the ready food fills the air, the mother calls her children to gather for a meal, creating a sweet and delightful moment. Sadly, for Gaza mothers, the situation unfolds with a different tone.

Gaza’s exclusion

Gaza being excluded from the above-said situations is the result of the actions of one of the most ruthless regimes in world history. Since taking control of Palestinian land, it has committed numerous crimes, gravest of them being the ongoing genocide in Gaza since early October 2023. Under the guise of combating terrorism, the Zionist regime has relentlessly pursued a full-scale genocide and the expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza. Particularly alarming is the regime's targeted attacks on women and children in Gaza. It has led to an increasing exclusion of Gaza's women; an exclusion from life.

A different bride in Gaza: Wissal Al-Ashram, the wife of the late Ahmad, who had only begun her married life six months ago, now clutches her martyred husband's shoes, solemnly looking upon his lifeless body.

A different motherly hug: A mother from Gaza holds her martyred child, kissing him with the same care and anticipation she felt during his first moments of life, gently guiding him to his eternal resting place.

A different family reunion: A mother in Gaza, surrounded by the wreckage of her home, raises her voice, summoning her children to reunite once more. However, such a gathering will never occur in Gaza again, as each of her five children has become a martyr.

Zionist regime’s femicide

The challenges faced by women in Gaza surpass what is conveyed in these personal narratives. The impact of the ruthless attacks by the Zionist regime on Gazan women becomes fully apparent when the massacre is described in figures like ‘tens of thousands,’ ‘hundreds of thousands,’ and ‘millions.’ The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported the martyrdom of over 8,200 Palestinian women in Gaza. On average, the Zionist regime claims the lives of two mothers every hour—mothers who have witnessed the martyrdom of over 13,000 of their children to date. The struggles of women and girls in Gaza extend beyond the pain of losing loved ones. With the destruction of over 290,000 housing units, more than one million Gazan women and girls are now displaced. Residing in densely populated refugee camps in southern Gaza and the city of Rafah, these women and girls face severe challenges in terms of food, medical care, hygiene, mental health, and economic well-being.

Around 50,000 pregnant women call the Gaza Strip home, and it's expected that over 5,500 of them will give birth this month. Of this group, roughly 840 are projected to need specialized medical care for childbirth, but due to the deteriorating healthcare infrastructure, they're practically denied these services. These circumstances may heighten the risk of giving birth to infants with congenital disorders like intellectual disability or infantile paralysis. Premature birth and stillbirths are also among the additional consequences when mothers lack adequate nutrition and proper healthcare. In the current wartime conditions, where shelters and hospitals are under-equipped, approximately 180 women give birth daily. Unfortunately, almost none of them have access to suitable health, nutritional, and mental well-being conditions. These mothers, whose children now face only a one-third chance of survival, lack the necessary conditions even for raising their children if they manage to survive.

Over 68,000 mothers face the risk of anemia and severe malnutrition, making it difficult to provide proper nutrition for their children. This number is roughly equivalent to the entire population of a city like Kansas City in the US. Women and girls in Gaza are grappling with the most severe health challenges. The refugee camps have over 310,000 cases of respiratory diseases and more than 75,000 cases of lice and scabies (which is intensified for women). They are even deprived of essential hygiene items, leading some women to resort to using period delaying pills with severe side effects to prevent menstruation. Others are compelled to use old clothes for hygiene purposes.

The “Israeli” government has been responsible for an average of over 210 instances of martyrdom and more than 500 injuries, affecting Gazan on a daily basis. Moreover, since the start of the war, at least 3,000 women have become widows, and from now on, they face the challenge of supporting themselves and their families. All of this is occurring in the midst of Gaza's weak economy, which was already struggling with significant unemployment issues, even for men, prior to these unfolding events. Admirably, women in Gaza demonstrate resilience amidst significant psychological and emotional pressures resulting from the Zionists’ crimes, to the extent that it has aroused global curiosity about the reasons behind this dignified resistance. Nevertheless, the emotional impact of such tragedies on women and girls in the city is indescribable

Women of Gaza are excluded from womanhood

“Any inequality or suffering is wrong.” “Each [young girl] is already a unique and valuable person when she’s born; every human being is.”

Put these statements against the backdrop of the apparent disparity between the situation of women in Gaza and women globally. One might initially assume that the speaker is expressing anger after witnessing the plight of women in Gaza and is marching to advocate for their rights. However, the reality diverges; Gloria Steinem, the speaker of these sentences, a leader of the second wave of feminism, who has a substantial history of writing numerous books and contributing to various newspapers and magazines in support of women's rights, has not taken a position in support of women in Gaza. Despite actively supporting the 2022 Iran riots, Steinem has not voiced any support for the women in Gaza. Intriguingly, her feminist allies, who have long championed equality and the elimination of discrimination, are now either condemning Hamas or, like popular feminist pages, sidelining the issue of Gaza women without the slightest mention of the inherent occupier nature of the Zionist regime. Some have gone a step further, condemning activists supporting Palestinian women. These condemnations have been heard from official platforms, and the French Minister of Gender Equality, in noteworthy remarks, criticized the silence on the sufferings of Zionist women.

Targeted discrimination

Western governments and women's rights movements have been at the forefront, exerting political, economic, and even military pressure on countries beyond their international influence, including Iran, Afghanistan, and Iraq, all under the guise of advocating for women's rights. Presidents of France and the US have personally engaged with individuals labeled as women's rights activists, championing the economic and security policies of their respective nations and the West. These efforts, from giving Nobel Peace Prizes to accolades at film festivals, have advanced their cause. However, why do the women of Gaza lack such support? The exclusion of Gaza women from the backing of politicians and the mainstream Western women's rights activists raises a crucial question: Can we rely on this discrimination as the prevailing ideological-political trend for supporting women's rights globally? In December 1992, the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei remarked, " we consider what they claim, to be false, and deceptive. Their support for human rights is similar to their support for women's rights. The imperialists, oppressors, and pillagers of the world, those who ignore the rights of nations, and destroy the interests of weaker nations, and the occupiers of weaker countries, are the so-called bearers of the flag of advocating human rights and women's rights!" The increasing indifference and inaction of Western supporters of women's rights towards the women of Gaza indicates that this indifference is not an isolated incident but stems from ideological and political foundations.

Lately, the Western perspective on women and women's rights has reached a global scale, leveraging academic institutions, education, media, and diverse platforms to impact different regions and cultures, shaping the prevailing mindset. The unfolding events in Gaza, characterized by a genocidal invasion orchestrated by the Zionist regime and supported by Western allies, resulting in the tragic martyrdom of over 30,000 civilians, including women and children, have glaringly exposed the shortcomings and fallacies within Western notions of human rights and women's rights.

Isn't it time for people worldwide to seriously contemplate distancing themselves from the inefficient Western human rights system and to take decisive action in this direction?

Since October 7th, from approximately 420 posts on the Instagram page @feminist, boasting 6 million followers, only less than 10 posts have touched upon the topic of Palestinian women. None of these posts have condemned "Israeli" crimes, and in some, efforts have been made to strike a balance in the conflict by addressing "Israeli" women and their issues. Notably, influential magazines like Ms. Magazine have not expressed any support for Palestinian women.

Story Code: 1121272

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