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

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

Hamza: the rare super-optimistic Gazan

Hamza Mughari | 11-08-2015



What would you write about yourself if you were are reporter? Hamza Moghari would say this:

A sea with white shore, with many houses nearby, and everywhere children are laughing and playing. Here both happiness and sadness are intertwined. You witness a mother’s joywhile feeding her son and also her grief over her recent loss – perhaps her husband, brother or another family member. You observe a father who is happy to be at work, yet sorrowful because he cannot meet his family’s needs. There are strong people here, yet they’re also weak. The youth are lost, but find themselves in their dreams. This is Gaza.

Away from the violence, the suffocating siege, the deadly wars and the treacherous countries and people who contribute to Gaza’s tragedies, there is a young man living in the middle of this mess. His name is Hamza. When he was 12, he never asked for a toy, he asked for toys for his friends. When he was 16, he didn’t have a crush on a girl (out of respect for Gaza’s conservative culture).  Now this man is 21. Despite his hard life, Hamza always looks on the bright side.

Hamza was born in Deir El-Balah, a city in the middle of the Gaza Strip in Palestine, famous for its delicious dates. People in Deir El-Balah are like one big family, full of love and intimacy. That’s why Hamza loves his community. He swims in the sea for hours, discarding any sadness, hopelessness and negativity, as easily as he discards his clothes before jumping into the water.

Hamza once said, “I can see what others cannot see and, apparently, I can hear what others cannot hear. Everyone can do this, I suspect, if we tap into the enormous energy inside our souls. As for myself, I use my whole energy to full advantage of what I have rather than focus on what I do not.”

Using our energy to find ourselves is not easy for anyone, but in Gaza, where there is so little freedom and so few resources, it is understandable why depression is almost universal. However, Hamza found happiness by discovering the things he enjoys most of all – writing, volunteering helping those in need, and educating people. Hamza strives to represent Palestinian youth, in his his own style. He might not have the same skills as others, but he works as hard as he can to improve himself.

Hamza is studying for his bachelor’s degree in nursing at the Palestine College of Nursing. Along with his studies, he volunteers and workswith national and international organizations in the fields of health, human rights and youth development. Regardless of the siege and the three barbaric wars in Gaza over the past seven years, he never thinks about giving up. He sees himself like a phoenix, rising above the ashes.

By his 21st birthday, he’d never traveled outside of the Gaza Strip, a prisoner in the world’s largest open-air prison under Israel’s siege.“Life sure flies by fast,” he said. “Opportunities fade away while I’m still a prisoner in my own country.” He has tried many times to attend international conferences, events and trainings, but the border crossings between Gaza, Israel and Egypt remain locked for almost every traveler. Hamza believes traveling enriches a person’s life experiences, culture and knowledge.He won’t give up because he knows he’s on the right track.Meanwhile, the Internet facilitates his distance learning, interviews and cultural exchanges to help Hamza enhance and develop his skills.

Recently, Hamza was accepted into a three-year Young Leaders fellowship on reproductive health with nearly 200 other youths from 94 countries. Hamza is happy and proud to represent Palestine in this international gathering, which finally will take him out of Gaza (inshallah!) – to Denmark in June 2016. He knows the experience will fulfill his aspirations, potential and dreams.

For Hamza, human rights and dignity are precious and worthy of advocacy. Once he tweeted this quote by Nelson Mandela: “We all know that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians!” He added, “We are seeking the liberation that could save the world from Israel’s oppression.” Hamza is passionate about organizations that call for human rights, so he applied to be a certified member of World Youth Alliance, an international organization advocatingfor human rights and dignity.

Hamza has lived through three Israeli assaults on the Gaza Strip. During Operation Protective Edge, Hamza volunteered inside UNRWA schools as a first responder and health educator, and heard stories shared by hundreds of displaced people. Hamza pledged to make their voices heard to prove that the people of Gaza deserve life with dignity and peace. When Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor announced its new “We Are Not Numbers” projectto help young writers in Gazashare their voices and stories with the world, Hamza immediately applied. Now, he is an active contributor to the project, trying to prove to the world that Gaza deserves love and peace.

Hamza’s advice to the youth of Gaza and around the world: Don’t ever give up, and if you focus on helping others, you will learn to love yourself in the process. Even three devastating wars and the ongoing siege and blockade have not dampened his determination to succeed in whatever way he can. He loves life, and will never stop dreaming.

Hamza is from Gaza, and he is not a number!
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Mentor: Lora Lucero
Posted August 11, 2015


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