If all had gone well, Gaza artist Mohamed Almadoun would be painting in Ireland right now. He is now trapped in the balcony of a school near Rafa crossing. The school has been used as a shelter since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.
Qatar-based media Al Jazeera reported that 44-year-old Mohammad Almadoun is a visual artist. He got an opportunity to study at the Burren College of Art in Ireland as an Artist Residency for a month. His flight was scheduled for Ireland on October 7. But on the same day, Hamas fighters attacked Israel. After some time, Israel also launched a counterattack in Gaza. The war began. As a result, Almadoun was inevitably trapped. He never went to Ireland again.
This artist told Al Jazeera, ‘I am very tired. We are going through an unspeakable humanitarian disaster.’
For 45 days, Mohammad Almadoun has been living almost in captivity in this shelter. It is not known when he will be released. He must stay here until the war is over. There are many more foreigners and injured Palestinians.
Ireland is trying to free Almadoun
Ireland is one of the few Western countries to criticize the Israeli attack on Gaza. Lisa Newman, director of admissions at the Burren College of Art, said they are trying to free Almadoun. The embassies of Egypt, Israel and Ireland have already been contacted.
Lisa said: ‘We are doing everything we can to help him with an Irish visa. His stay at an Irish college meant an exchange of heritage and culture between the two countries.’
“The people and government of Ireland have morally supported the Palestinians,” Almadoun expressed gratitude. I am grateful for that.’
That life is suffering, pain
Almadoun said he came from the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza. On October 9, Rafah left for the border crossing. In the meantime, Israeli forces started firing. He also hired a car at a hefty rent to go south.
Almadoun left his family in Jabaliya. He said, I don’t know if I will meet them again. Bombing continues. There is no way to get there.
For 25 years, Almadoun built a painting studio. It was reduced to rubble by Israeli bombing. He was supposed to attend a painting workshop in Portugal. Couldn’t go there either.
Almadoun now spends his days and nights on the balcony of a UN-run school at the Rafah crossing. He said, ‘Thousands of people are sleeping in the stairs, balconies and even toilets of this school. Food and water are not available here. I never imagined such a life.’
Want to paint a picture message
Still hope remains. Almadoun dreams of being released soon and traveling from country to country to represent the Palestinians.
Almadoun said, I am an artist. I want to highlight the oppression, killing, injustice and suffering of Palestinians to the world through art. Artists are ambassadors of their country. I hope I can be a strong voice to stop the Israeli atrocities in Gaza.
Mohamed Almadoun believes that one day the injustice done to the Palestinians will end. He said, our people will one day regain the sovereignty of their homeland.