Jassim, Yasmeen, Khadijah, Abdul Haq, Abdul Sami, Mariam, Abu Bakr — these names echo in the haunting silence of the mourning tent erected in the Ghost Town of Al Madam in Sharjah. These are a few names among thousands of innocent children who tragically lost their lives in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
The names of children who lost their lives were recited at the tent, which serves as a space for collective mourning and solidarity with Palestine and is a reminder of the human cost of war.
The Concrete Tent is a structure in the desolate Al Madam Ghost Town, presented by artists Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti for the second edition of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial in November. Little did they know that it would soon become a symbol of grief for the lives lost in the war that continues to ravage Gaza.
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On February 10, the Sharjah Architecture Triennial and members of Alserkal Arts Foundation, joined by UAE residents, gathered at the tent to mourn the departed souls and pray for the innocent children who fell victim to the war. Tears flowed freely as participants shared their heart-wrenching experiences, emotions, and stories, exposing the harsh realities of war.
A participant, who had lost many relatives in the conflict, said: “My grandfather, grandmother, cousins, uncles, and aunts — they were all innocent. The war has brought immense grief to thousands of families. All we pray for is that the war ends soon, and things return to normal.”
Another participant expressed the plight of those who have lost everything. “People who lost the most are the ones who had nothing to do with the war. They lack food, water, and shelter. They are living a miserable life and our prayers are a must for them.”
The structure holds a significant meaning. “The tent was originally built in the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, Palestine, in 2015. It symbolizes collective mourning and solidarity with Palestine,” said Hilal.
“It is a basic element in the construction of refugee camps and also serves as a gathering place during funerals and protests. It embodies the temporary status of refugees in camps and symbolizes their right to return home,” added Hilal.
The tent will stand in the ghost village until March, welcoming people to visit and mourn for departed souls lost in the war. In the middle of war and sadness around the world, this tent is a quiet observer and sees the pain and grief that war causes to innocent people.