123 Days: Navigating a Complex Emotional Landscape

Today we mark four months, 123 days, since the war in Gaza erupted. Our hearts are heavy with the weight of the ongoing crisis that has unfolded. The whole MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region has been engulfed in shock, fear, and deep sadness due to the inhumane acts witnessed in Gaza and the West Bank. Today, we stand witness to a genocide in Gaza that has claimed the lives of nearly 30,000 people, the majority of which are women and children. The region is further grappling with the ripple effects of hate speech, both digitally and in person, fueled by polarized narratives that obscure the stark reality.

The crisis, much like an uninvited guest, has breached boundaries, leaving a profound impact that extends far beyond the epicenter. The people of Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria find themselves at the forefront, shouldering the heaviest burdens in the face of these trying times. Yet, it is not just the physical consequences that extend beyond borders. The sorrow and despair have become emotional threads, weaving through the fabric of communities across the MENA region. As tensions continue to simmer, so does my personal journey. My daily life has become a delicate dance, navigating the complex nuances that shape my identity as a Middle Eastern living in America. The images and stories pouring in from the region evoke an overwhelming sense of sorrow in me, as innocent lives are shattered, and communities bear the brunt of the relentless violence. The stark contrast between my current surroundings and the turmoil in my homeland deepens my sadness, as I grapple with the complex emotions of being physically distant but emotionally tethered to the pain unfolding. Despite that, I feel that I have a duty to be a testament to the resilience and strength required to maintain a sense of personal identity amidst the intricacies of global conflict. As my story unfolds, I hope to become not just a storyteller, but also help foster understanding, bridge divides, and inspire change.

While we stand in solidarity with those affected by the crisis, we must also amplify our collective voice to advocate for peace, justice, equality, and an end to the suffering of citizens. Numerous organizations, including ours, unite in a resounding plea for a ceasefire. The urgency of this call extends beyond geographical borders, religious beliefs, or cultural differences; it is a collective cry for humanity, compassion, and justice. Together, let us embark on this journey, acknowledging both the pain and the potential for healing in the MENA region.

– Hasna, the storyteller