We Are Not Numbers || Suicides on the rise in Gaza: When death seems the only escape: There is a strong taboo against suicide in the Gaza Strip, where Islam is the predominant religion. But on February 9, Rezeq Abu Setta, 38 and a father of seven, joined a growing trend in the blockaded Palestinian territory. He attempted suicide.
Abu Setta was one of the estimated 80 Gazans a month who tried to or succeeded in taking their lives in January and February—an alarming increase of 160 percent over previous years. And some sources suggest the total may be even higher.
Abu Setta’s story is individual in many respects, but common in one essential way: He could not earn enough money to support his family.
In Abu Setta’s case, he had worked as a guard for the Fatah-affiliated Palestinian president until 2006, when Hamas took over Gaza. In the wake of the dispute between the two political movements, Abu Setta was paid by the Palestinian Authority (controlled by Fatah) to stay home, along with hundreds of other Fatah employees. He continued to receive his salary—until he made a big “mistake.”
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