Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gaza's Surfer Girls

From The Atlantic

Thirteen year old Rawand Abu Ghanem is one of four girls learning to surf , as the newest members of the Gaza Surf Club.
Sitting in her family’s living room later, Rawand tries to explain: “It’s a great feeling when I surf, but I won’t surf when there are a lot of people around. It’s so weird for them to see a girl surfing. It gets crowded, and I just can’t handle everybody looking at me.” Since Hamas took control of the territory in 2007, the militant group has been working to inculcate conservative Islam in an already traditional society. As a result, the daughters of the strip’s male surf community must navigate ever more treacherous waters. All of the girls surf fully clothed, prefer to practice in groups of other surfers and swimmers in an effort to avoid attention.
The girls and their parents agree—they won’t be able to surf after they turn 17.“Doing something only boys do means I’m unique. I’ll go to another hobby—that’s the way it works here,” Rawand says.

It doesn't have to be that way Rawand. It really doesn't.

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