When the Gulf Cooperation Council citizens marked Eid al-Adha this year, some shared their stories about the Holy Festival and how the blockade affected their family ties beyond imagination. increase.

Gulf Muslims celebrated the first day of Eid al-Adha on Saturday, June 9.

In most cases, families living in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are free to celebrate the festival across national borders, but many are holy celebrations from 2017 to 2020 and how it is due to bitterness. I still remember if it was contaminated.

On June 7, 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt implemented an illegal air, land, and sea blockade in Qatar.

The embargo had a major impact, diplomatic relations were cut off, imports stopped, and the people of all the countries involved were struck by the political crisis.

Citizens of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain residing in Qatar were given a 1-2 week grace period from their home countries to abandon the blocked country. This move has forced many employees, students, families and relatives of Qatar’s companies to leave Qatar in a hurry.

Individuals studying at a Qatar-based university had to suddenly end their education and leave without a clear path as to when they could continue studying.

Doha did not prevent people from the blockade quartet from entering the country, staying, or continuing education.

On January 5, 2021, when the Alura Agreement was signed, the GCC issue began to change, effectively restoring diplomatic and trade relations between Qatar and the Blocked Quartet.

Some residents of Qatar were unable to celebrate one of Islam’s most important holidays with family and friends who were nationals or residents of other countries involved in the conflict during the year of the blockade. I expressed my sadness.

“The sudden application of restrictions has affected thousands of families and individuals across the region that make up a close social structure across borders,” Amnesty International reported in a detailed statement released in 2017. did.

Human rights groups have called on Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain to lift the blockade to end a series of “arbitrary restrictions” on families. Many of the families have split up as a result of the GCC crisis.

Obstruction of artificial borders was second only to diplomatic conflicts for families living dispersed in the Persian Gulf.

“Why did the family have to be dragged into the midst of a higher decision?” Hassan, a Qatari citizen whose extended family lives abroad in Saudi Arabia, said. Doha News..

After the blockade:’Very close, still far away’

Recalling the morning of June 7, Hassan said his relatives, including himself, were all shocked and lacking in words during the first few hours of the day.

The phone calls and communications exchanged between his family in Qatar and Saudi Arabia were so criticized for unprecedented anxiety and fear of the unknown that the first few days of the event felt more intimate. rice field.

Hassan didn’t know what the future of his family would be, so he grabbed his grandfather’s words, “See you again.” [God willing], This is just like two older brothers fighting. “

His grandfather’s message came from Saudi Arabia, which borders Qatar.

Government political decisions have led to tensions among citizens and have affected family ties.

Blood ties are inevitable, anxiety has turned into a defense mechanism for many, and some families live in one of the countries involved and support their own government.

“In WhatsApp group chat, I still remember that some cousins ​​sometimes send anti-Qatar fake news and join or leave the group. It creates a lot of tension between us. I did. “

Immersed in hostility, the post-blocking conversation pushed the family more than ever, but this time it was not due to proximity, but to choice.

“This really happened to us when it was limited, as my aunt and cousin usually come during Eid, so it’s hard to be honest. [2017 blockade on Qatar] We really separate us and we don’t know when we can meet again, “Hassan said. Doha News..

As for another Qatari citizen, Mariam, the blockade had a lot of impact on her family, as half of her family lived in the UAE.

“Whenever my aunt wanted to come because her grandmother had a health problem, or when there was a wedding or celebration, it was really heartbreaking for her because they didn’t give her permission. That was it, “she said.

“So she went through Oman to Doha, then back from Doha to Oman and back to the United Arab Emirates. She was 65 and she was the only one so she had to do this alone. [in her family in UAE] Who [Qatari] Passport, “said Mariam. Doha News.

Mariam’s aunt found a loophole around the travel system. GCC citizens use their Qatar ID to travel to Oman because they can easily travel to the Gulf countries using their ID. With no evidence of stamps, Mariam’s aunt will return to the United Arab Emirates without the authorities knowing the trip to Doha.

When recalling another story, Mariam explained how her friend was denied the ability to attend her grandmother’s funeral in the UAE because the disconnected diplomatic relations did not take humanitarian issues into account. ..

“Her grandmother died during the blockade, and when she and her family arrived at the UAE airport, they did not allow them to pass and were forced to return to Doha.”

Mariam explained that when leaving the UAE during the blockade, people had to submit a document to the authorities stating that they were allowed to travel to Qatar. It was difficult to achieve this, so many relied on stopping in Oman before going to Qatar.

Post-Alura: “Time is money”

The signature of the Alura Declaration, which saw the normalization of relations between the closed nations and Qatar, was consistent with the Covid-19 pandemic, further deepening the separation of families throughout the Gulf.

Faced with new challenges, an unprecedented health crisis has plagued the world and impeded people’s freedom of movement.

“In addition to the land, sea and air blockades, we have undergone a health blockade,” Mariam said.

“The coronavirus stopped us because our country decided to normalize the relationship so we could see each other,” Hassan said, and the families feel each other’s absence. He added that he couldn’t “break”.

As health and travel restrictions increased, GCC residents followed strict health protocols to contain the virus and stop its spread.

“I feel like even the attitude has changed after the Al-Ula agreement. [extended families] Do not post propaganda on social media. Our conversation is not hostile when it comes to discussing politics, “Mariam said. Doha News.

While maintaining a constant movement loop between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, Mariam and her family were able to see each other during Eid, allowing free maneuvering after January 2021. enjoying.

“Many of my UAE families have come to Eid al-Adha and also to Eid al-Fitr. It’s very easy to move,” she said.

“Because we were children, they always spend two Eid festivals with us, so it was really difficult for both families to endure the blockade era,” he added, while both families exchanged. Did not say hello during the holy event, even though it was a time of intimate relationship.

“In a sense, I think the blockade brought us closer, because it made us realize that time is important and family ties should not be taken for granted.”

The most emphasized family ties and their importance during Eid represent an opportunity for many Muslims around the world.

“So I pick up the phone during Eid, greet each other and renew my family ties. What do you expect when you live in a world where even kinship is submissive to state authorities? I never know, “Mariam said. Doha News.

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