Monday, May 18, 2009

What is the impact of the Israeli siege on the Palestinian youth?

By Mohammed El Majdalawi, a MECA volunteer in Gaza

Palestinian youth are living under very difficult economic conditions, due to the Israeli siege on Gaza. Many of them have graduated from university and are looking for work opportunities.

One young man in the prime of his life, Ahmed Abdul-Karim Yousef Majdalawi, is a 29-year-old tailor and father of four. He lost his work because the blockade on Gaza and the closure of the crossings caused the sewing factories to close, and limited the work available to him.

Looking for alternative employment to secure his livelihood, Ahmed started to sell candy to school children in Beit Lahiya, where he lives. But with the end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacation approaching for children in Gaza, Ahmed needed to get better work to support his family. He decide to work underground in Rafah, because he could not find anything else. On Wednesday May 13, 2009, the tunnel he was working in collapsed.

Ahmed is alive, but fighting for his life.

I appeal to lovers of peace and freedom to work to save Ahmed, and also work to break the Israeli siege of Palestinian youth – to save their future and to obtain their freedom and rights, like young people in the rest of the outside world.

Ibdaa Dance Troupe

Ibdaa's youth dance troupe performs regularly throughout the Middle East and Europe, and MECA has sponsored three US tours. In 2009 we made a grant for the production of a new dance show and for Ibdaa’s ongoing theater, music, drawing, and sports programs for children.

Here is a short video of Ibdaa's youngest dancers performing in public for the first time.