MANILA: A peace prayer by Philippine beauty queen Gazini Ganados took the rounds on social media in the wake of Israel’s war on Gaza, as she said it was her Palestinian father who taught her how to express love.
The half-Palestinian, half-Filipino model, who represented the Philippines in the 2019 Miss Universe pageant, shared screenshots on Instagram of video calls with her dad in Gaza as Israel’s aerial bombardment of the densely populated Palestinian enclave was taking place.
“I can only imagine the trauma my brothers and sisters are going through and hope for them to still remain kind and hopeful in this cruel situation. Praying for everyone’s safety,” the 25-year-old said on Instagram.
Born in Dapitan City, in the Zamboanga del Norte province of the Philippines, Ganados was raised single-handedly by her Filipino mother. Separated from her father, she finally met him in January 2020 after an interview with Arab News and has since been in touch with her dad and half-siblings in Gaza.
She said: “He taught me how to say ‘I love you’ in Arabic which is a big leap because I rarely show affection. Ana Uhibboka Pa. Give your loved ones a hug, a kiss and show them how much you truly love and care before it’s too late.”
Eleven days of Israeli aerial bombardment of the Gaza Strip — which is controlled by the Palestinian group Hamas — killed at least 230 people, including more than 100 women and children, worsening Gaza’s already dire humanitarian situation, damaging thousands of homes, and disabling critical infrastructure.
With the situation still tense, Ganados on Thursday told Arab News that she believed that peace would come. “I know this war has an end point and peace might come, but only if those who wield the power to kill actually decide their energies are better spent elsewhere.
“I asked my father if there was any way I could help and it’s unfortunate to know I could only pray for the safety of my family,” she said.
Her prayers came true as a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was announced on Friday, ending the worst violence in years which has left more than 50,000 people homeless in Gaza, where they already have limited access to water, food, and health services.
The recent attacks were the deadliest outbreak of conflict in the region since the seven-week Israeli war on Gaza in 2014, during which 2,300 Palestinians were killed as Israeli forces bombed residential buildings, hospitals, and schools.