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Surreal scenes I witnessed during ‘The Worst Eid Ever’: NPR – Current Globe News

Surreal scenes I witnessed during ‘The Worst Eid Ever’: NPR


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Standing in front of Shifa Hospital in the city of Gaza, the man who took his brother to the emergency room is waiting for news of whether he survived.

Anas Baba for NPR


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Anas Baba for NPR


Standing in front of Shifa Hospital in the city of Gaza, the man who took his brother to the emergency room is waiting for news of whether he survived.

Anas Baba for NPR

I am a Palestinian photojournalist living in the city of Gaza. Of all the devastation I recorded this month during the 11-day war between Hamas and Israel, one early morning stands out.

It was two weeks ago on Eid, and I went out to paint the ruins at 5:30 p.m. The holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan is one of the moments we Palestinians look forward to all year long. Men carry cologne and traditional jalabiya coats instead of trousers. Women wear thobes. Let’s go to the mosque fire prayer and to hear from the imam a lesson on how we should visit each other to spread the spirit of love. People on the street have big smiles.

We hoped that both sides would announce a ceasefire on our holy day, as they did during the last war between Gaza and Israel in 2014. But this time they did not. It happened a week later, after according to the authorities in Gaza, more than 250 people were killed and many more were injured. In Israel, authorities said 12 people were killed while more than 4,000 rockets were fired from Gaza.

A Palestinian assesses the damage to his supplies store the morning after it was damaged.

Anas Baba for NPR


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Anas Baba for NPR


A Palestinian assesses the damage to his supplies store the morning after it was damaged.

Anas Baba for NPR

I went to Saraya, a square in the center of Gaza City, and found people looking for an open mosque, only to feel Eid, but instead witness an irrational scene: There was a massive hole in the street that was hit by an Israeli rocket next to a Ramadan greeting billboard and another billboard with the silhouette of Mohammed Deif, the leader of the military wing of Hamas.

Mosques were not open. Local radio stations warned people not to leave their homes. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs of Gaza announced that there would be no joint prayers because it was too dangerous to gather during the war. He said no haram, it is not forbidden to pray at home with your family.

“Excuse me, can I ask you something?” I heard. It was Abu Kamal, the owner of Kodak Express. He was on the balcony of his apartment above his photo library and talking to me in the street downstairs.

“I don’t have the courage to go out of my house and look at the door of my shop. Tell me, is it bad?”

“I’m sorry, but God loves you very much,” I joked. “The windows just broke. Everything else is fine.”

A Palestinian family evacuates their home in the middle of the night during the Israeli bombing of Gaza.

Anas Baba for NPR


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Anas Baba for NPR


A Palestinian family evacuates their home in the middle of the night during the Israeli bombing of Gaza.

Anas Baba for NPR

The smile I saw on his face for me was a real Eid.

I asked him what happened. He said he had never felt anything like it in his life. The sound made a hole in his ears. He jumped out of bed and went to the nursery with his wife. The first blow from the air. Others. Third.

“The whole house was dancing,” he said.

After the tenth air strike, everything fell silent.

“I didn’t understand if I was alive or not. By crying my family, I realized I was alive,” he told me. “I didn’t have the courage to look out of my window to look at my shop until I heard tuk-tuk-tuk your camera. “

The truck is transporting several families who are being evacuated from their homes in Beit Hanoun, a neighborhood in Gaza.

Anas Baba for NPR


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Anas Baba for NPR


The truck is transporting several families who are being evacuated from their homes in Beit Hanoun, a neighborhood in Gaza.

Anas Baba for NPR

I left Abu Kamal and drove to paint a demolished building, when I saw people running. They said that the Israelis had just called them, warning that their five-story building in a luxury residential area would be hit. Sixty families were evacuated.

I saw four children, Mom and Dad. Their faces were terrified. I stopped and offered to take them away. Dad was so happy. He said he wanted to run home to his father-in-law, but did not have a car.

It was 6:30 in the morning. The girl and the boy were holding lollipops and did not understand what was going on. A little boy, maybe 9 years old, said to his father, “Grandma [Papa], why do we go to grandpa’s early? “

The father, an accountant Mohammed Shamali, wore flip-flops and pajamas and held two suitcases. One contained their official documents. The other had bracelets and gold jewelry of his wife.

“I was trying to convince my children, ‘All the bombs you hear are not war. It’s a celebration for the upcoming Eid.’ And when Eid came, we evacuated our home, ”he said. “This is the worst Eid ever.”

I put them down and took pictures on the sidewalk, waiting for Grandpa to open the door.

Then I called my mom. I wasn’t home for three days because I was staying in my father’s office and photographing rocket fire from the roof at night.

“Happy Eid, Mom,” I told her. She started crying.

Anas Baba is a freelance photographer and journalist from Gaza City.


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