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Young Gaza Chef Inspires Hope Amid Israel’s Occupation

Young Gaza Chef Inspires Hope Amid Israel’s Occupation

Amid the daily sounds of bombardments and drones, the war-torn streets of Gaza have witnessed the rise of a young culinary star. Renad Attalah, a 10-year-old girl with an infectious smile and a passion for cooking, has captured the hearts of many with her delightful cooking videos.

“War’s lollipop by Chef Renad. We need baking paper, toothpicks, and a ladle…” begins one of Renad’s videos. Her enthusiasm is palpable as she introduces her audience to simple, yet creative recipes amidst the chaos of war. In another video, she exclaims, “Indomie! Let’s start. The main ingredient is this delicious thing…”

“I have always loved cooking, but I did not know that I had this skill before the war started,” Renad tells Al Jazeera. Her passion for cooking has become a source of hope and joy, not just for herself but for many who follow her.

Also Read: Hamas Reports No Progress in Gaza Ceasefire Talks with Israel

Thousands of Palestinian civilians in northern Gaza are facing severe shortages of water and food since Israel’s escalation on October 7, which has resulted in the deaths of at least 38,011 people and left 87,445 wounded. This stark reality contrasts with Renad’s cheerful cooking demonstrations, highlighting the harsh conditions under which she creates her content. Despite the challenges, she has managed to cook using donated food and aid.

“We have been looking for drinking water in Gaza for three days, but there is no clean water,” she shares in one of her heartfelt videos. 

“Bombardment, warplanes, drones, and the absence of internet are all obstacles. Whenever the internet service is back, I keep myself busy with my content and posts,” she says. Renad tries to post her recipes to social media as often as she can, battling constant obstacles. 

Nourhan, Renad’s sister, recalls how it all started: “It was a spur-of-the-moment idea. We were trapped at home since the beginning of the war. We tried to do something to cheer Renad. So, we started randomly filming her cooking. The internet was restored after more than four months, then I posted her first clip and the response was huge.”

The response indeed has been overwhelming. Renad has amassed more than half a million followers on Instagram, becoming an instant sensation and an inspiration. 

Israel’s brutality against Gaza has had devastating effects, with more than 14,000 children killed and tens of thousands more injured. Amidst this grim reality, Renad’s cooking videos serve as a form of escapism and a source of happiness for many. “I am trying to escape the agony of war, bring joy to myself, to make me and others happy, and to wash away grief and sadness,” she says.