Last night’s Virtual Majlis was a snapshot for both students in Qatar and the USA of how hard life is for university students in Gaza.
Every time a bomb is dropped on Gaza it sends shockwaves of hardship through every student’s family and community. Last week was no exception after Israel retaliated with bombs into Gaza’s suburbs, crippling the only power station allowed to run for over 1.5 people.
Just as students from the United States were ready to ask questions to the students from Gaza about their writing project they had shared with them called “Letters To My Father” the electricity in Gaza turned off.
Abdullah Elkhoudary (Al Fakhoora volunteer in Gaza) tried to reconnect with Doha and the US multiple times without success. At one time we heard Abdullah exclaim “Imagine having to complete a research assignment in these conditions!”
The hard reality of how difficult the students’ lives are in Gaza rang true as one-third of the virtual Mejlis reappeared and disappeared in a desperate attempt to stay online. One of the American students kept repeating to Gaza “I feel like we are going through this with you Gaza, we feel your frustrations, we're sorry.”
While Al Fakhoora’s Communication Manager Lubna Al Attia tried to reconnect with Gaza, Mohammed Hammoda, (Qatar Foundation scholarship student from Gaza who is attending CMU-Q and an intern at Al-Fakhoora) knew all too well the frustrations students in Gaza were experiencing. Mohammed explained to the American students that during Operation Cast Lead Israel bombed their power stations.
After the bombing they were only allowed to repair one power station which is responsible for providing electricity to 1.5 million people. The rest of the electricity is unconventionally wired through from Egypt. Mohammed explained that on a good day, they may have electricity for up to ten hours.
Mohammed said that it is really difficult for people who live in the sixth or seventh floor, especially for the elderly and small children. Climbing up the stairs is only the tip of the iceberg, with the electricity only running for eight hours a day refrigeration of meats and dairy are almost impossible. “You have to think twice before you decide how much meat you’re going to buy so it doesn’t spoil”.