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The Shopkeeper

Meet Ahmad


We decided to interview a local shopkeeper on his thoughts and feelings about living under occupation. Ahmed lives in Meet Ahmad

Ahmad lives in the central part of Gaza, near the sea and runs a convenience store with the assistance of his family members including his brother and cousin. His business relies on customers from nearby hotels including tourists and local residents. He studied at college and is qualified as a business secretary however with the lack of jobs in Gaza he is now responsible for running the store.


Interviewer: How does it feel to live under a siege in Gaza?


Ahmad: After nearly 6 years it is becoming increasingly normal. To be honest I dot really think about it any more. I realize its not normal but this is how I cope.


Interviewer: In what way does it affect your business personally?


Ahmad: It affects how I buy in goods and run the business because customers come in for specific items. If I do not have these items in stock as a result of the restrictions then my customers may come back a 2ndor 3rdtime but after that they will shop elsewhere.


Interviewer: You mentioned prior to the interview that you have studied business, how does this affect you?


Ahmad: I am educated as a business secretary however because the situation in Gaza is so bad and there are no jobs I cannot work in the profession I am trained. Its for this reason I run the family shop with the help of other members in the family. Even if people are educated there are no jobs. Also my business is affected by the lack of tourists.


Interviewer: How long ago has it been since tourists stopped coming.


Ahmad: At the beginning of the siege there were some tourists but now people are less likely to come because Gaza has turned from a sage to an occupation and a siege. It is like a war zone. People a from outside are put off from coming into Gaza and this has affected my business.


Interviewer: You mentioned earlier that you normalized the situation here in Gaza. It this because it's a coping mechanism for you?


Ahmad: Yes it has a psychological effect on me especially as one minute we have hope and the next there is none because one minutes its normal when they open and then they close the borders. One of the coping mechanisms I used is following my faith as a way of staying strong and hopeful.


Interviewer: Do you feel hopeful that things might get better in the future?


Ahmad: Because of the unrest especially with Egypt I believe that in the long run things will be beneficial for Gaza. That problem its that if Egypt close the borders then it means that Israel resorts to sending in more things and yet if the borders are open Israel sends less. However I would rather have the borders open with Egypt because its better for the people of Gaza. I also feel hopeful because I am not alone and everyone around me is in the same situation. If I was alone and had no family I would feel hopeless but because they are around it gives me some hope.


Interview ends








Hummingbirds of Gaza

"Like the hummingbird the people of Gaza are given no choice but to adapt swiftly to ever changing situations which includes having their houses destroyed, human rights violations and dealing with trauma every single day. The Palestinian people and those in Gaza retain the true spirit of the Hummingbird by remaining joyful, compassionate and sensitive in the face of extreme adversity."

- Sarah -


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