By Ahmad Barqawi
March 12, 2009 “Information Clearing House”
Something happened in Gaza that shook the very core of my foundation & being; something that has fundamentally altered my perception of mankind in the 21st century; if this is what the “progress” & “evolution” of the human species have yielded so far; then I don’t even want to imagine what our fated future is holding in store for us. It gives me shudders to think that I am living in a day & age where rationalizing the bombing of unaided infants & children audaciously live on T.V. is just as effortless as opening a soda can, all you have to do is throw in broad & ambiguous justifications… -the most common one of course being “Fighting Terrorism”- & you’re automatically immune against the slightest form of protest, condemnation or even friendly critique.
The Viva Palestina convoy arrived to its final destination after a long & heroic journey leaving us emotionally jam-packed with feelings of gratitude not only as Arabs or supporters of the Palestinian cause but also as human beings for the flicker of hope this convoy has symbolized; that there is still goodness in humanity after all amid the never-ending injustice & cold materialism that seem to have become the most common characterization of our world as of late; a world that has gone a stray for more than 60 years turning its back on hundreds of thousands of all sort of massacres & atrocities in our region & elsewhere; a world that’s growing even more vile & prejudiced with each & every new American administration; with all do respect for president Obama & his promises of “hope & Change” (which I can assure you do not even remotely concern us & our righteous issues); but real hope & change can be found in everyone who contributed to the success of this convoy; from the organizers to the donors; the drivers; the loaders & even those who prayed for it to reach the people of Gaza; that’s real hope & change if you ask me.
This convoy left me wondering though; what about the Arab convoys? The Gaza aid conference held in Cairo is of course respectable & beneficial in theory & in its essence (& God knows better) but one can’t help but feel doubtful; that the declarations of pledged billons of dollars worth of aid & donations will never materialize; at least not in the foreseeable future, not to mention the problematic issues it raises about the rightful receiving end of these donations & the political conditions & prerequisites tied to it; especially in these times of global financial meltdowns; the notion that any country undergoing a likely long term severe recession & on the verge of a national economic failure will contribute these huge amounts of money for the rebuilding of Gaza without seeking political gains is preposterous & more laughable than laughter itself; especially that some of these donors played a questionable part (to say the least) in the war on the strip.
It’s not too hard nor too impossible for the Arab league to come up with a way to send available aids directly to the people of Gaza just like the Viva Palestina convoy; free of bogus bureaucratic non-sense as it should be; a severe humanitarian crisis -which is worsening by the hour- calls for little room for dirty politics & more room for… well humanitarian work! sadly it is highly unlikely that this will happen; & that leaves us as Arabs with a feeling of amputation and emptiness as a part of this nation; are we allowed to turn our backs on what’s happening only few kilometers away from where we take our lavish lifestyle for granted? Of course we genuinely sympathize during news broadcasts; but alas it doesn’t go far beyond that most of the time; & we may find blood-tainted solace hidden in those demonic little moments where we secretly relish the fact that we’re not trapped in a land of starvation & conflict cursing those who would be assuming the exact same role we are so contently drowning in right now; People in Gaza everyday go to bed hungry, injured, sick, mutated, homeless, orphaned & widowed; the fact that it’s not always shown on TV does not mean that it’s not real; it is real & it happens on a daily basis but we’ve just become too self-absorbed to the point where we actually need a huge wake up call; one that is sadly as huge as the latest massacre in the strip just to grasp – for a while- the reality of the grave unjust befallen on our people of Palestine only to fall back again & silently wait for the next genocide.
What happened on 27th of last December has left little room for the imagination of what Israel can do packed up by the western camp & along with that; our denial has reached epidemic proportions or what some might call “Our terminal case of just not caring”.
The Arab league should’ve taken the chance & arranged for a similar aid convoy (or could’ve simply urged Egypt to open the Rafah border altogether) but instead we continue to severely imperil our already vulnerable portfolio of past verbal commitments to our cause & expose how helpless they are against forgetfulness.
I still wonder how many children tried to shake their parents awake?
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Ahmed, my own thoughts and feelings echo yours exactly.
“Something happened in Gaza that shook the very core of my foundation & being; something that has fundamentally altered my perception of mankind in the 21st century…”
Having arisen from the rubble of Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza on the 27th of December last year, it is a cold and hard manner of solace, but Shaine’s observation that “there appears to be a tidal shift in the way the Western World views the inhumanity and illegalities of Israel…” does seem to be true to a considerable degree. I can only pray that people have been adequately shaken from their stupor tp finally have the guts to confront this blot on the face of humanity. I am geographically from India, but my heart has been in Palestine ever since the early ’80s when I was a young teenager and had many close friends who were Palestinian, whom I considered my family. When Gaza was attacked I felt like my own home was being torn apart.
Palestine will be free and will be the torch-bearer of justice and freedom for the whole world. I just know it in my heart.
Thank you, Mohua for your comment and sentiments.
Good commentary. Gaza happened such a short while ago, and it is rapidly fading in the human consciousness. Undoubtedly immense suffering in Gaza still takes place. The one consolation in this horrible situation is that the Unjust punishment that Gaza suffered at the hands of the brutal and illegal aggression of the Israelis is that the there appears to be a tidal shift in the way the Western World views the inhumanity and illegalities of Israel.