Israel destroyed my business and took away my happiness

A display at Jannah Ahmad Abu Sitta’s shop. 

I have long dreamt of having my own design business. A place of my own where I can work night and day.

After leaving high school, I studied for a diploma in fashion design. While I was at college, I set up my shop.

It felt like a considerable achievement.

In my small store, I had Palestinian dresses, crafts and other items. It was small but it hosted many things I designed myself.

I stocked many heritage items. Some were for sale but most were available to rent for celebrations.

My shop became a source of daily income for our family.

A traditional garment at the shop. 

In September, I graduated from the fashion design college where I had been studying. Soon afterwards, I began majoring in Arabic at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University.

Because of the income from the shop, I was able to pay my university fees.

On 3 October last, I was at a university class when my phone rang. The call was from the director of my old college.

He informed me that I had been given a teaching post there and that I would work with new students.

I asked for permission to leave my university class and went to the labor ministry. There I signed a contract for my new job at the design college.

I was very happy. Now I could receive a monthly wage, in addition to the money I made from the shop.

The happiness quickly disappeared. Just a few days later, Israel declared a genocidal war against Gaza.

It is with great pain that I inform you that my store has been completely destroyed in this war.

After it was bombed by Israel, I went to the shop and took some things from under the rubble. I hid those things in our house.

Since then, we have been displaced and gone to Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost city. Our home has been destroyed, too.

Israel is attacking everything in Gaza. How much suffering can it inflict on us?

Jannah Ahmad Abu Sitta is a fashion designer and content writer based in Gaza.