Gaza women and the pain of war
By Rula Samain

The escalating war violence in Gaza has attracted global attention; however, women and children continue to be the most affected segment in the society, with their safety and their human rights often regarded as the lowest priority amid the ongoing conflict
The brutality of war shatters all ethical considerations and every aspect of human rights, leaving numerous women in utter devastation
The continuous bombings on Gaza have resulted in many women enduring profound suffering. News recounts heartbreaking stories of mothers who have lost their entire families, and according to the UN, more than 2,780 women have become widows, in the blink of an eye.  These women are left to survive the pain, agony, and loneliness without adequate support; mostly relying on themselves and God!
Compounding the already dire situation for these women, their rights are not just at stake but are being violated, stressing the urgent need for international attention and action
Women and girls constitute over half of internally displaced refugees worldwide, nearly 80 per cent, according to UNFPA. Therefore, perceived just or unjust, wars have the same devastating impact on the overall well-being of women and girls in war zones, and on humanity at large. Sadly, the harm inflicted is usually irreversible
Since the 7th of October, more than 1.7 people have been displaced, 26 out of 36 hospitals have been bombed to the ground. Schools, neighborhoods, mosques, and even three churches, one of which is considered amongst the oldest churches in the world, have turned to ruins. The outcome is a complete destruction everywhere, which forced survivals to abandon their territories seeking refuge elsewhere – a dreadful situation known as displacement.  Such mass punishment and displacement coupled with the absence of proper healthcare normally lead to the lack of social order and protection, directly exposing women and girls to risks and dangers.
Why the focus on women and girls? Research has shown that women play a crucial role acting as peace mediators within their families and social circles, proving to be an effective instrument in this specific aspect. Qualities such as resilience, compassions, patience, and the ability to multitask are skills specially needed in zones of conflicts and wars. Thus, by taking into consideration both women’s capabilities and, at the same time their vulnerabilities, it becomes imperative to protect women and girls from the agonies and pains inflicted by wars and war violence
Women carry the burdens of wars. Their experiences and hardships extend from the pain of separation from their families, to issues such as food insecurity, displacement, human trafficking, and disrupted access to health care and education. Such challenges exceed the physical struggle, inflicting significant psychological trauma on them
As we have reached a high point in the 21st century, hoping that humanity might have realized and learnt from the lessons of the past wars, specially World War I, and World War II, to conclude that the evil seed is planted in every generation perpetuating the perception of wars as displays of strength and power.
Nonetheless, in the midst of the war on Gaza and the horrific agonies and challenges the war brings with it, we extend a deep admiration to the resilient women there, and hope for an immediate seize of fire to pave the way for the much needed humanitarian aid and food supplies, and the protection for all in need specially women and girls
Journalist and writer specialized in Interfaith Dialogues, Peace and Reconciliation
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