Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

MeMo features project in story on suicides

We Are Not Numbers and writer Anas Jnena are featured as sources in this piece highlighting the growing depression in Gaza, resulting most recently in suicide by a promising young Arabic writer, Mohanned Younis.

The piece begins:

“I ask myself, what’s the point behind all of this and then I fall asleep.”

Such is an excerpt from a short story by 22-year-old Mohanned Younis, a young writer and pharmacy graduate who committed suicide at the end of last month by inhaling poisonous gas. Having tried to leave the Gaza Strip numerous times to advance his writing career, he eventually fell into depression, and finding no apparent use to his life, took the decision to end it.

Younis’ case is not an isolated incident. Reports of suicide in Gaza have grown increasingly common; whilst there are no official statistics on the issue, health officials in the Gaza Strip say they are aware of 200 to 300 suicides taking place in the past two years. Other data considers that a conservative estimate, with contributors to grassroots NGO We Are Not Numbers (WANN) noting 80 suicides per month in January and February 2016, an increase of 160 per cent compared to previous years. In some neighbourhoods, suicides have become a weekly occurrence.

Anas Jnena, a writer at WANN, notes how such incidents were unheard of some years ago.

When I was a teen, I never heard about anything like suicide, I never even knew what suicide meant, probably only in books. But it was so far from something to comprehend, until it became more regular and common in Gaza.