Hend Sabry Resigns from UN World Food Programme Over Inability to Halt Starvation Warfare in Gaza
In an emotional statement, Sabry highlighted feeling powerless helping WFP field workers address wartime atrocities unfolding in packed Gaza neighborhoods and refugee camps. As one of the few Arab female celebrities given rare access across the occupied Palestinian territories, Sabry directly witnessed this summer’s lopsided destruction meeting with families in wartime rubble.
Citing discussions with anguished Gazan WFP staff unable to fulfill duties aiding civilians caught in conflict crossfire, Sabry accused military forces of blatantly wielding hunger as a weapon against over two million Strip inhabitants. Yet despite the agency’s global standing and past interventions curbing wartime humanitarian disasters, Sabry noted acute disappointment that WFP leadership declined leveraging its moral authority to urgently demand combatants end bombardment of trapped Gaza non-combatants and vital infrastructure enabling food security.
A Plea To Halt Warfare Falling on Deaf Ears
Since initial Gaza airstrikes began last May, Hend Sabry urged regional directors in Cairo to condemn armed hostility knowing civilians would experience disproportionate suffering. However her insistent petitions went unheeded even as civilian casualties climbed daily.
As the respected actress wrote in her departure letter from Cairo on August 31st, “Over recent weeks I have witnessed and shared the frustration of my admirable colleagues at the World Food Programme in feeling unable to fully do their jobs as they customarily would for children, mothers, fathers and grandparents in Gaza, only able to achieve little in the face of the relentless war machine grinding civilians to death.”
Despite the organization officially helping broker the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2417 in 2018 criminalizing starvation tactics amid warfare, Hend maintained that same global apparatus essentially enabled the tactic being mercilessly deployed by combatants against Gazans today.
Citing how over 46 relentless days of bombardment, restrictions on movement and resources created what relief workers called “hellish” conditions condemning 80% of Gazans to food insecurity, it became clear to Sabry that geopolitical dynamics neutralized any substantive humanitarian intervention. The WFP largely resorted to condemning violence in general rather than directly petitioning diplomats or military officials to cease campaigns specifically targeting critical food and water infrastructure that the UN itself designated as protected sanctuaries.
Principled Resignation With Continued Commitment
With Gaza still smoldering in ruins, no foreseeable accountability for suspected war crimes and immense despair gripping Palestinians she broke bread with just months earlier, Hend Sabry ultimately concluded her alignment with such an impotent institution betrayed fundamental moral convictions. However rather than abandoning wider advocacy roles outright, she affirmed plans supporting Arab social justice movements through alternate conduits going forward.
In her resignation letter, Sabry acknowledged feeling inner turmoil given the World Food Programme’s inspiring track record addressing calamities like famine, natural disasters and displacement crises around the globe. Just three years prior, the same crusading organization trumpeted its Nobel Peace Prize for efforts nourishing millions.
Yet contradictory images of desperate Gazan families combing UN food aid packages from wreckage next to leveled residential buildings deflated such institutional virtues in this particular crisis. For Sabry and millions beyond the Arab world, such acute visible suffering combined with perceived global indifference invoked somber outrage and activism still ongoing nearly two months since ceasefires were reluctantly declared.
Hend Sabry: Bold Dreamer Bound By Conscience
While detractors labeled Hend Sabry’s resignation tweetstorm naive grandstanding, many supporters praised her adherence upholding moral convictions regardless of professional consequences. Other celebrity goodwill diplomats declined public comment regarding her polarizing departure. However beyond notoriety in the Arab entertainment industry, Sabry carved a distinctive niche as an independent dreamer guided by societal impact rather than fame, fortune or the fickle feedback those pursuits elicit over personal principles.
Whether through acclaimed movies highlighting Arab female empowerment or backing children’s literacy campaigns throughout the region’s most marginalized slums, Hend Sabry walked the talk promoting cross-cultural harmony. Even backing UN institutional shortcomings to uplift besieged communities fully aligned with her fierce spirit championing universal human dignity, not any partisan or geopolitical agenda.
Thus for this singular figure equally beloved, beguiling and strongly opinioned, relinquishing any affiliation failing to meet collective moral obligations proved fully consistent with her bold trajectory. Far beyond a mere celebrity figurehead or fame chasing opportunist, Hend Sabry’s resignation honored manifold ghosts from Palestine to the Nile Delta still meriting greater earthly justice with patience transcending all temporal powers.
بعد 13 عاما من العمل الإنساني عبر العالم.. استقيل من برنامج الغذاء العالمي— Hend Sabry - هند صبري (@HendSabry) November 22, 2023
أكتب هذا بقلب مثقل وحزن عميق؛ حيث قررت التخلي عن دوري كسفيرة للنوايا الحسنة لبرنامج الأغذية العالمي التابع للأمم المتحدة
(البيان كاملا مرفق في الصور)@WFP
with a heavy heart and deep sadness I have… pic.twitter.com/dIki98or7u