Palestinians reminisce about Ramadan before the Nakba

A Palestinian vendor displays a variety of pickles in front of his cafeteria with name in Arabic that reads ‘food crime,’ in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AP)
A Palestinian vendor displays a variety of pickles in front of his cafeteria with name in Arabic that reads ‘food crime,’ in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AP)
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Updated 04 April 2022

Palestinians reminisce about Ramadan before the Nakba

A Palestinian vendor displays a variety of pickles in front of his cafeteria with name in Arabic that reads ‘food crime,’ in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AP)
  • The jerisha dish, a seasonal meal, was so costly that most families could not afford it and rich families cooked it in large quantities in Ramadan, distributing it to the people of the town to celebrate the Holy Month

GAZA CITY: “There is nothing more beautiful than the old days and the month of Ramadan in the past.”

With these simple words, Palestinian Um Ahmed Aqel started to recall the Ramadan atmosphere before the Nakba in 1948.

Born in 1925, Aqel was a married woman when she was forced to emigrate with her family from her hometown of Sarafand during the Nakba. She lost her infant daughter on the terrifying migration journey from Sarafand to Gaza. The 74th anniversary of the Palestinian tragedy is approaching on May 15.

At 97, her memory is still burning bright and untouched by the years. She recalls much of the Ramadan experience in Palestine before the Nakba.




Um Ahmed Aqel

“Life today is different and difficult, but at the time people were simple and good,” she said.

During Ramadan, the city was decorated and sweets shops thrived; this month was one of the most beautiful months of the year, because of its beautiful atmosphere and traditions, especially during the night.

Ali Al-Aseel, Native of Jaffa

“Before and during Ramadan, happiness fills the hearts, as if people are waiting for a dear one who has been away for a long time. Ramadan for us was the month of goodness and blessing.”

With a smile on a wrinkled face, Aqel remembered how women were busy in the days before Ramadan, preparing pottery jars for keeping water cold and making cheese for Suhoor meals.

The wealthier people in the town were keen to distribute flour and vegetables to the poor and to pay their zakat on the first day of Ramadan so that those entitled to it can buy what they needed for the holy month.

“The women used to meet as groups to prepare the Iftar table and exchange food items. Unlike these days, it did not contain many items and did not exceed the family’s needs, but rather it had one item that contained a meal of seasonal vegetables, such as peas or beans or Jerisha, which is crushed wheat cooked with red meat.”

The Jerisha dish, a seasonal meal, was so costly that most families could not afford it and rich families cooked it in large quantities in Ramadan, distributing it to the people of the town to celebrate the Holy Month.




Ali Al-Aseel

The town of Sarafand had a population of no more than 2,000 people at the time of the Nakba. “There was one small mosque in Sarafand. The children of the village, boys and girls, gathered near it at sunset, waiting for the Maghrib call to prayer, and they went cheering and glorified towards their homes.”

Ali Al-Aseel, 87, was a 13-year-old child, during the Nakba, which he endured with his family from Jaffa.

Like Aqel, Al-Aseel clearly remembers the Ramadan customs and traditions that seem unaffected by the long years since his childhood in Jaffa. He still remembers the house in which he was born and many details of daily life.

“During Ramadan, the city was decorated and sweets shops thrived, this month was one of the most beautiful months of the year, because of its beautiful atmosphere and traditions, especially during the night,” he said.

With the sunset, the beach was crowded with young people and children waiting for the Iftar cannon, which distinguishes the city of Jaffa from other large cities in Palestine. The locals relied on the loud sound it makes, marking the time of Iftar.

After Iftar, the men performed the evening and Tarawih prayers, gathered in public, and listened to religious invocations, or to radio programs, which were available in the family councils.

“Life was simple, and the month of Ramadan increases harmony, and families gathered on one Tabliah,” a small and low wooden table, around which family members gather, eating together from one dish.

Palestinian historian Salim Al-Mubayed said that much of the joy of welcoming the month of Ramadan and the atmosphere that distinguished it in the past has disappeared, whether because of the Nakba and its repercussions, or because of development, technology and preoccupation with life concerns.

“Where has this beautiful and simple era gone? Has it been swallowed up by technology, as it has swallowed up many beautiful appearances, customs and traditions?”


Student in Egypt held for killing girlfriend who refused to marry

Student in Egypt held for killing girlfriend who refused to marry
Updated 17 sec ago

Student in Egypt held for killing girlfriend who refused to marry

Student in Egypt held for killing girlfriend who refused to marry
  • Salma Baghat was stabbed 17 times in Zagazig city
  • Latest in a string of ‘revenge’ murders by men

A man has been arrested for killing his 20-year-old girlfriend in a stabbing frenzy after she refused to marry him, in the latest case of femicide that has shocked the nation.

In a statement, Egypt’s Public Prosecution said that it had detained 22-year-old Islam Mohammed pending an investigation into charges of the premeditated murder of Salma Baghat, which took place in Egypt’s Zagazig city.

The prosecution said the young woman and her family rejected his offer to marry her due to his “bad behavior, abnormal beliefs, and his addiction to drugs.”

Mohammed, who attended Al-Shorouk Academy with Baghat, admitted to authorities that he killed her on Tuesday because she had rejected him and refused to comply with his demands to stop seeing her friends and quit her job.

Mohammed stabbed Baghat 17 times as she was leaving a building in the city, according to local media reports.

The prosecution said the man then posted a picture online of the victim’s body after the attack.

Baghat’s killing is the latest in a string of “revenge” murders.

The murder of 21-year-old Nayera Ashref outside her university campus in broad daylight in June this year sparked outrage across Egypt. Prior to her murder, Ashraf had repeatedly refused the advances of Mohamed Adel.

According to the Erdaak Foundation for Development and Equality, an estimated 7.8 million girls and women in Egypt have experienced some form of gender-based violence.

In 2020 alone, there were 415 violent crimes reported against girls and women in the country, the organization said in a report published last year.


Japan welcomes Gaza ceasefire, stresses ‘violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East’

Japan welcomes Gaza ceasefire, stresses ‘violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East’
Updated 11 August 2022

Japan welcomes Gaza ceasefire, stresses ‘violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East’

Japan welcomes Gaza ceasefire, stresses ‘violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East’
  • ‘Japan hopes that this ceasefire will contribute to a stabilization of the situation in Gaza’

TOKYO: Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Wednesday welcomed the Gaza ceasefire and said that the problems between the Palestinians and Israel “cannot be resolved through violence.”

Following a fierce series of bombings by Israel and a response by Palestinians in Gaza, tensions have grown in the region, although a ceasefire has been agreed to.

“Japan hopes that this ceasefire will contribute to a stabilization of the situation in Gaza and lead to an improvement of the socio-economic situation locally. We call on all stakeholders to comply with the agreement and call for maximum self-restraint.”

Hayashi said the many casualties amongst the general public that have resulted from the clashes “is a big and deep concern for us, and I’d like to express my condolences to the victim’s families.”

The foreign minister expressed Japan’s official position on the Palestinian cause saying, “Violence will not solve the issue in the Middle East. We believe that it can only be resolved through negotiation and efforts to build confidence between the parties. Therefore, we call on all those involved to make the strongest efforts possible.”

Hayashi made his remarks in reply to Arab News Japan’s question in a press conference at the ministry held right after participating in the inauguration of the new cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Hayashi was retained as Foreign Minister in the new lineup.

This article originally appeared on Arab News Japan


Dubai customs officials uncover 3.7kg drug haul hidden in car parts

Dubai customs officials uncover 3.7kg drug haul hidden in car parts
Updated 11 August 2022

Dubai customs officials uncover 3.7kg drug haul hidden in car parts

Dubai customs officials uncover 3.7kg drug haul hidden in car parts

DUBAI: Inspectors at Dubai International Airport have seized 3.7kg of marijuana that were found hidden inside air filters used for an engine, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

Dubai Customs officers made the discovery after an x-ray of a passenger’s items revealed an “abnormal density,” the WAM report added.
Upon dismantling the auto spare parts, officers said they found the narcotics “skillfully concealed” around the air filters.
The suspect was arrested and an investigation was launched.


Oman police thwart attempt to smuggle 73kg of cannabis

Oman police thwart attempt to smuggle 73kg of cannabis
Updated 11 August 2022

Oman police thwart attempt to smuggle 73kg of cannabis

Oman police thwart attempt to smuggle 73kg of cannabis
  • Police authorities in Dhofar Governorate earlier arrested two people from the African continent after 13 kilograms of hashish were found in their possession

DUBAI: Police in Oman have foiled an attempt to smuggle a large haul of the drug cannabis into the country.

It is the latest in a number of seizures forming part of the government’s efforts to raise awareness and prevent the spread of controlled substances.

The General Department of Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Control, in cooperation with the Coast Guard Police, arrested two people while they were unloading 73kg of cannabis on a beach in Muscat Governorate,” the Royal Oman Police said in its Twitter account, adding that legal proceedures were underway.

 

 

Police authorities in Dhofar Governorate earlier arrested two people from the African continent after 13 kilograms of hashish were found in their possession.

A forum in Dhofar earlier this week discussed the issue of controlled substances in Oman.

The event explored the types of substances being brought into the country, as well as the reasons for the use and the effects of their abuse, viewed from a social and family perspective.


US and Kuwait discuss enhancing global food security

US and Kuwait discuss enhancing global food security
Updated 11 August 2022

US and Kuwait discuss enhancing global food security

US and Kuwait discuss enhancing global food security

KUWAIT: The US Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Michele Sison met with Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah during an official state visit, Kuwait State Agency (KUNA) reported.

They explored ways to boost cooperation to enhance global food security and health sector.

They discussed bilateral ties and reviewed the latest regional and international developments of common interest.