Abu Ayman: The Oldest Barber of Deir Al-Balah (PHOTOS)

Ahmad Abu Dghaim, known as ‘Abu Ayman’, is a 75-year-old Palestinian refugee, who currently lives in the refugee camp of Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Ahmad Abu Dghaim, known as ‘Abu Ayman’, is a 75-year-old Palestinian refugee, who currently lives in the refugee camp of Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip.

Ahmad was only 3 years old when Zionist militias invaded his village of Barbar in 1948. That period, known as the Nakba, or the Catastrophe, has resulted in the ethnic cleansing of nearly 800,000 Palestinian refugees.

The Abu Dghaim family, following a tortuous journey that lasted for months, settled in an area near the town of Deir Al-Balah, now the Deir Al-Balah Refugee Camp, which has, since then, stood, among many other refugee camps, as a witness to the perpetual suffering of millions of Palestinian refugees – but also a witness to the spirit of the Palestinian people that refuses to die.

Ahmad became a barber at the age of 15 to help support his family. 60 years later, ‘Abu Ayman’ continues to serve his mission, this time offering his services either for free or for very little money, his way of helping his community during a time of need. 

Abu Dghaim has lived an eventful life, survived many Israeli wars and invasions, the Israeli siege on Gaza, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with many children and grandchildren, Deir Al-Balah’s oldest barber carries on with the same strength and determination as he did all of these years ago. Quite often, he roams the streets of Deir Al-Balah with his trusted old barber kit, where he keeps his tools, offering his services to everyone. 

Palestine Chronicle photojournalist Fawzi Mahmoud accompanied Abu Ayman during a busy day of work in Deir Al-Balah and sent us this gallery.

(All Photos: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

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