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Hamas and Civil Society in Gaza
: Sara Roy
: Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyah—Political aspects—Gaza Strip, Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyah—Social aspects—Gaza Strip, Arab-Israeli conflict, Islamic fundamentalism—Gaza Strip, Jami’ah al-Islamiyah (Gaza)
: Princeton University Press
: 2013
Call Number
: ebook 351
Ringkasan :
On a warm, sunny day in the spring of 1999, I was touring an Islamic kindergarten in the Gaza Strip with my friend Ramadan, who would sometimes translate for me. After viewing a class in session, we were escorted into the school courtyard, a large, clean space that was serenely, yet surprisingly, silent. As we stood in this empty expanse, a bell rang. Within seconds, scores of children poured into the vast silence, filling it with laughter and play, their joy utterly infectious. The teachers, all women, also laughed at the children’s apparent insuppressible excitement. Our guide, the school director, invited us back inside to continue the conversation. He led us into a room where three men and a woman were sitting at a long rectangular table. “This is our board of directors, and they would like to speak with you.” I was surprised and delighted, because I did not expect to have such easy access. With Ramadan translating, I began by thanking them for this unexpected opportunity. The exchange that followed proved to be a critically important experience in my research on Hamas and the Islamic movement. The conversation turned to the school’s operations, curriculum and pedagogy, teachers and their backgrounds, and from there branched out to the local community, the demographic composition of the student body, and family life in Gaza. As we talked, a young woman knocked at the door. She was a student’s mother searching for someone, and she abashedly apologized for intruding. Instead of sending her away, one board member, Dr. Ahmad,2 invited her to enter and join the discussion. Pointing to me, Dr. Ahmad addressed the young mother and said, “This is Doctora Sara from America. She is here to learn about our school and what we teach our children. Would you be willing to answer some of her questions?” In an instant, this young, soft-spoken wisp of a girl transformed into a self-possessed powerhouse of a woman, and it stunned me. Although she was speaking before the board, she did not seem at all intimidated. She described the school’s many strengths. I then asked her to address its weaknesses. Unhesitatingly, she took my question as an opportunity to voice her concern: “I would like more help with taking care of my children after school; I mean programs after school that would keep them busy in more creative ways, and [provide] more ways for me as a parent to be involved with the school.” Concerned that I might have somehow compromised her by my question, I looked at the board members to gauge their reaction. All but one were smiling. They thanked her, and she then excused herself and left with a certain confidence she had not visibly possessed when she entered.

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