How Can Young People Help Rebuild Gaza?
After twenty-two days of carnage against the Palestinians, Israel approved a unilateral cease-fire on January 18, 2009. According to various reports, approximately 1300 people have been killed. Of this figure, 410 were children, 108 women and 118 were elderly people. Thousands of others have been injured and almost 20,000 were forced to leave their homes.
Photos depicting the horrors of the war have been splashed across the Internet. Many of these photos will unfortunately not be broadcast via mainstream media outlets.
Although we hear about the figures and are constantly updated on the current situation, the photos provide concrete evidence of the grotesque crimes that have been committed against so many innocent civilians. People are still searching for missing family members and as the days pass, the death toll will probably rise.
The world watches as events unfold day by day. In our hearts we cry and tears flow freely from our eyes. As much as we would like to assist our brothers and sisters in Gaza, the general consensus is that we feel helpless. However, let us not lose hope but focus on the youth and how we can contribute towards helping the people of Gaza.
Raising Funds to Support the People in Gaza
Relief organizations are working to raise funds and obtain supplies for the people in Gaza. Universities, schools and other places frequented by the youth should also aim to raise funds for this cause.
Although there are many restrictions and difficulties in getting the funds and supplies directly to the people of Gaza, all collections can be forwarded to reliable relief organizations that have already embarked on projects.
Rallies, protests and demonstrations are being held against the Israeli assault on Gaza and many of the organizers are youth. Together with friends and other young people from schools and universities, the youth came together to express themselves and protest against the Gaza holocaust. Information regarding the protests, such as venue, time and date are being broadcast to large numbers of youth, who in turn spread the message to family and friends as well as their communities. It is imperative that the message is spread to as many people as possible.
Connecting Via the Internet
The Internet is a very powerful tool, which we have at our disposal at present. We can connect with people of all ages from around the world in seconds.
Facebook is a social utility that connects people from around the world. At present, there are millions of young people the world over who are members. Many youth are constantly updating the statistics and news updates concerning the current situation in Gaza.
There are options to post photos, video clips and external links of articles related to Gaza. It is also a platform from which the youth can discuss issues and exchange ideas with each other regarding the events unfolding in Gaza.
A broader perception is obtained as one can interact with youth from a number of countries. It is a great channel to increase awareness of what is happening there. Many groups have been formed, such as “Stop Israeli attacks on Gaza”, “Gaza, let’s sift through the propaganda”, “We want Palestine back”, “One million voices for Gaza” and “Stand up for humanity!”
In Search of the Truth
It is important that we search for the truth; therefore, we should arm ourselves with as much knowledge about the situation, history, statistics as possible. We should then spread the knowledge in every way possible, whether it is through Facebook, Twitter, text messages or e-mail. Do not ignorantly accept what is being broadcast via mainstream media.
We should be boycotting all Israeli products. Proceeds from the purchases of Israeli products are being used to purchase weapons to fight against our Muslim brothers and sisters. Let us stop supporting them and being a means of taking innocent lives.
Let the youth spread the message and create awareness. Encourage everyone to abstain from buying Israeli products. Many lists have been circulated naming various products that are used to support Israel. Visit the following link for more information: http://home.pacbell.net/halnet/Boycott%20Israeli%20Products%20Campaign.htm.
How Can the Youth Help Gaza?
IslamOnline.net contacted a number of people from around the world to get their ideas on how the youth can be involved in helping the people of Gaza.
In this regard, Jehanzeb from Pennsylvania suggests that we The Muslim youth should get involved with the Muslim Student Association in their respective college campuses and hold events that raise money for the victims in Gaza.
He added “I also think it would be really great for the Muslim youth to write letters to the victims in Gaza and include prayers for them, just so that they know the rest of the Muslims are thinking about them”.
Nabeel Jackson of South Africa, together with Ebrahim Ismail who participates in debates in the group ‘South Africans Supporting Palestine’, said, “Our youth need to become ambassadors in society for their Palestinian counterparts. While we enjoy freedom, they’ve experienced violence, brutality and torture at a young age.”
They added, “The youth should communicate in many ways to show them that we are taking up the struggle in every possible way. Solidarity is important and since it is a global trend, it is much easier to fit in. That will give them hope that beyond their borders we are there for them and this will boost their morale.”
“We should raise as much funds as possible, which should go to reliable Islamic banks and organizations. Also, it is important that these funds go to the ones who really deserve help, not only the people of Gaza, but also the ones who can defend Gaza should be considered, and maybe they should manage the rebuilding process”, said Amr Ali of New York.
“I know that life in Gaza has deteriorated, but rebuilding Gaza really shouldn’t keep us away from the main issue and that is the Zionists and the Jews and their everlasting plans. What will be built may be destroyed again, and so it will not be built as a luxury so as not to make the people get connected to it in one way or another,” he explained.
Sandy Masri from North Jersey, along with her friend Karam Asad have come up with a group called ’Unified for Gaza’. They are trying to get youth groups, college students, and adults involved in a fundraising event called the ‘Nationwide Bake-off Day’.
“Quite literally, volunteers who choose to take part in this fundraising effort would hold bake sales on a day designated by UFG. The date has been set for January 30, 2009. Perhaps one of the most important reasons for designating a specific day for a bake- off is to show unity among the Muslims (and Arabs), especially during this fragile time when our unity is questioned,” said Masri.
She added that the UFG believes that the involvement of our youth at this juncture will teach them very critical life lessons that include (but are not limited to) community involvement being the key to helping those in need and being proactive is one way to remedy the helplessness felt by many children and young adults who watch the news or by those who have family and friends in the region. For more information about this event, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zabrina from Malaysia,said, “From where I am, the youth volunteered for all the Gaza activities which includes fund raising. This means that their involvement is mostly indirect”. She is involved in a Palestinian cause and adds that the youth are always present. One of their plans is to make use of the talents of the youth in order to raise funds.
One of their plans is to make use of the talents of the youth in order to raise funds. “I think the best way to help the people in Gaza is to become more active in our Mosques and/or human rights organizations and make sure there are fundraising programs that are committed towards this crisis,” she added.
Prayers for Gaza
Almighty Allah is sufficient for us. He is the best disposer of affairs. O Magnificent, O Honored One, save the Muslims of Gaza. O Allah the Almighty, be for them a guardian and a helper. Our Lord, strong are those who are near to You. Glorious is Your praise. And sanctified are Your names. O Almighty Allah no one can abolish Your command. And no one can defeat Your army. All praise and glory is due to You!