Fund us say lovestruck Gazan couple

Fund us say lovestruck Gazan couple
Engaged couple Filastin and Hakim are attempting to crowdfund their wedding in blockaded Gaza, challenging social norms by their pragmatic approach to a common problem.
3 min read
19 Feb, 2016
Falastin and Hakim have been together for seven years
"It's impossible to afford the current expenses of marriage," said Falastin Al-Tanani, a resident of the blockaded Gaza strip. 

Filastin and her fiancee Hakim have launched an online fundraiser to pay the hefty expences of getting married.

"It was our friend's idea after knowing what we have been through and then with their encouragement and help we were able to launch the campaign," she said. 

They aim to raise $9000 for their wedding costs.

"The campaign is to cover for the basic wedding costs but also to help us get furniture we still need in our house - the bride's dress and the venue hire - we cannot afford it…also we need dowry money" she said. 

"People don't have anything to offer their kids so the new generation has problems than the older ones - the financial situation in Gaza is ridiculous - things are more expensive and parents can't afford to help their kids get married." 

Hakim and Falastin met seven years ago. They were both passionate about poetry and literature and our paths crossed as we began to write.

They have wanted to get married for some time but lacked the funds; despite being highly qualified graduates, neither have been able to find well-paying jobs in Gaza.

Although the campaign has been welcomed by many outside the bloacked strip, in Gaza, where marriage is usually a private affair, the reaction has been somewhat different.

"Some reject the whole idea of having someone to help you [to raise dowry] and taking advantage of the situation [in the blockaded strip, and started rumors about how this is inappropriate," said Filastin.

"Others knew about our situation and supported us - even some people in Gaza who we didn't know really liked the idea," she said.

"But although some people understood it and were trying to be helpful - but for the most part people didn't understand that this was ok."

One of the issues the couple faced is that many were confused by the fact they were in a public relationship.

"People don't accept the way we’ve been together for seven years…its a proper relationship not a typical [Gazan] marriage" she said.

"We faced a lot of rejection."

Accordingly, Filastin is hiding the campaign from her conservative family.

"They don't know about it! They don't go on Facebook" she said, although she has prepared various explanations if they should find out.

"We will say our friends did it," she said.

They feel obstacles they have faced is more down to economic hardship and societal norms, which, although worsened by the blockade, is also shared in many other Arab countries, rather than the political issues that puts Gaza in the headlines.

"[The problems] were more related to the social environment - in Gaza we knew have to fight because they had something worth it - but others might not feel the same - it depends on people themselves, not the wider political situation," said Falastin. 

However, they still feel that the war impacts social relations in the strip to a certain degree.

"These things either end relationships or make it much stronger," she said. 

Having raised more than half their goal, they are hoping they can finally have a wedding soon. 

"We are not sure when but are hoping for Easter so they can get married and get it over with."