I will never forget walking down that Cairo street one very hot day in August 2011 and passing a cool alleyway with long tables and benches set up in preparation for Iftar.
I turned and snapped a picture quickly, a bit embarrassed because I wasn’t really sure whether it was appropriate or not. I walked back after sundown and saw the benches full of men and boys eating their Iftar meal to break their daily fast during Ramadan.
Cairo was absolutely electric in 2011, just months after Mubarak had been ousted.
There was a lot of excitement and hope in the air. Even a non-Arabic speaker like me could feel it and understand.
So today when I think of Ramadan, as a non-Muslim, I think of hope. Ramadan and hope go together.
Despite the hardships and tremendous daily challenges in Gaza, Ramadan is a very special time for many.
The Gaza Strip has been under an illegal blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt for a decade, and unemployment and poverty levels are at record highs. Nearly one million of the 1.3 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza are relying on UNRWA food assistance to meet their basic daily needs.
I’m joining others around the U.S. to show solidarity with my friends in Gaza, and to raise funds to help assist food insecure families in the Gaza Strip. With $140 UNRWA-USA can provide enough staples to assist a family for 3 months. My goal is to help ten families or $1,400.
Unfortunately, my Iftar plans in the Baltimore Inner Harbor have changed due to a family crisis that requires my travel out of Maryland.
I’m hoping friends and “friends of friends” will contribute to my fundraising UNRWA-USA page here because the crisis in Gaza is real and deadly serious. Please read Sara Roy’s description of Gaza from her recent trip a few weeks ago here.
كل عام وأنت بخير