Palestinian women have more opportunities than women in many other parts of the Middle East. Many work, own businesses. A handful do play competitive sports.
But Gaza is conservative and is run by the Islamist party Hamas. Many families, like the Abu Ghanims, have traditional ideas about women's roles. An older sister had to quit surfing a few years ago, when she too got married.
"When girls are young, nobody objects. In fact, I taught them to surf," says the father, Rajad Abu Ghanim, a lifeguard and boat repairman who says he used to be an avid surfer himself, before an injury to his legs.
He says he saved up and spent three months' wages on a secondhand surfboard from Israel for use by the family.
"But as Sabah matures, it's just no longer appropriate," he says.
While her father goes to fetch his surfboard, and her mother fixes tea, Sabah Abu Ghanim finally speaks.
"I wish I could go back to being a child," she says. "That's when I felt most free — surfing."to grow up. She dreams of teaching other girls to surf. But she acknowledges that's probably impossible, since she'll soon be a wife, moving into her mother-in-law's house — still in Gaza, but inland.
For the first time in her life, she won't wake up to the sound of the waves.In NPR's telling, Hamas, a collection of Jew-hating terrorists whose raison d'etre is the destruction of Israel, is made to sound far less threatening and malevolent than it actually is. It's "conservative." It's an "Islamist party." Its followers "have traditional ideas about women's roles."
Way to whitewash the jihad, NPR!
Meanwhile, of course, "progressives" know who the real villain is:
A day later, back at the beach, members of the Gaza Surf Club gather within view of Abu Ghanim's house. Her door is closed.
Some of their boards and wetsuits have been donated. But otherwise these guys are typical surfers and friends, teasing each other about catching the wrong wave, and trading news about the winners at recent surf competitions in Hawaii and France. They too would love to compete abroad, but permission from Israeli authorities to travel is difficult to get.As NPR unpacks it, Hamas is "conservative" but Israel is the true oppressor.