“When I was a child, I dreamt to be a computer programmer” said Mahmoud Omar Mushtaha. However, after graduation Mahmoud’s dreams have been turned into a nightmare. With the Israeli blockade in place since 2007 there are virtually no job opportunities in Gaza for graduates. In desperation, to financially support himself and his family Mahmoud started a modest project of baking biscuits. Composed of three ingredients, coconut, cinnamon and anise; Mahmoud markets them as “Graduate Biscuit”.
Mahmoud markets his product mainly through social media platforms. Without any upfront finance for a shop, Mahmoud uses the family kitchen and gets the help of his mother. While this bakery project is helpful it does not provide for a steady income nor enough to support the family. Mahmoud mentions that “the profit from my small project is limited and not enough to cater for my personal needs as a young man, who hopes to get married. It does not meet the needs of my family, and I cannot afford my to buy father’s medicines; but I keep trying”. The resolve to continue is a means of resistance against the blockade and Israeli atrocities.
Mahmoud represents only a small example of the suffering of graduates in the Gaza Strip, due to the blockade. Mahmoud states, he is “counting on the world to end the Israeli siege”. People of Gaza are capable of taking care of themselves and they don’t need charity if only the Israeli siege was lifted.