Robert Fisk does it again: Wherever I go, I hear the same tired Middle East comparisons…
“Suppose you lived in the Toronto suburb of Don Mills,” writes Gunter, “and people from the suburb of Scarborough – about 10 kilometres away – were firing as many as 100 rockets a day into your yard, your kid’s school, the strip mall down the street and your dentist’s office…”
“Imagine for a moment that the children of Longueuil live day and night in terror, that businesses, shops, hospitals, schools are the targets of terrorists located in Brossard.” Longueuil, it should be added, is a community of blacks and Muslim immigrants, Afghans, Iranians. But who are the “terrorists” in Brossard?
“What would you do,” Zion Evrony asks readers, “if Dublin were subjected to a bombardment of 8,000 rockets and mortars…”
“The death toll from Gaza is, of course, shocking, dreadful, unspeakable,” he mourned. “Though it does not compare with the death toll amongst Israelis if Hamas had its way.”
But the Irish Times’s resident philosopher-in-chief in Ireland, Fintan O’Toole, “spoke the unspeakable”
“When does the mandate of victimhood expire?” he asked. “At what point does the Nazi genocide of Europe’s Jews cease to excuse the state of Israel from the demands of international law and of common humanity?”
So here is my ‘tired Middle Eastern comparison”
Citizens of the world. Regardless of which country you hail from, the language you speak, the faith you follow, and the income you earn. I want you to set all that aside and revert beyond that to your human nature. Imagine for a moment. Imagine sixty years of occupation. Of watching your homes being taken away, your people humiliated. Imagine being pushed progressively further and further onto one, stinking strip of land. And then imagine two years of blockade. The basic necessities of life – food, water, electricity – are beyond your reach. Your children’s reach. You’re watching the people you love suffer, while people wallow in what was your land, your right. Rights? You’ve been stripped of your rights. You’re watching a concrete wall being erected around your homes. You’re watching as your life is being reduced to a concrete cage. The sea, a valuable source of food and income, is taken away from you.
And you’re lied to. You’re told that you are free and independent. That the occupying forces have withdrawn their iron hand. Only you, you who live on that stinking strip, are no more free than you were when they lived amongst you. Perhaps even less so, as know you’re shoved cheek by jowl with more of your kind. Alone. Defenseless. Hopeless. A group of men give you hope. You’ve been pushed beyond your limits. You want action. And more than that you want hope. A reason to believe in a better day. A day when you and your families can be free and live a life like the rest of the world.
And so, after years of blockade, you resist. You fight for your freedom. And in turn, you’re annihilated. Targets or not, you watch your children die, your womenfolk bleed out, the promise of young men snuffed out. Family members are torn limb from limb. You’re on a frantic search for your husband only to recognize him by the wedding ring you once slipped on his ring finger in a moment of hope and love – now reduced to a dull shine on an amputated hand. All that’s left of him. You’re screaming for your children only to see their shattered bodies buried in the rubble of their schools. You hold your children close, attempting to comfort them while fires rage, blood flows, and families are reduced to shredded bits of charred human flesh. You pray you’re not next.
The men you placed your hope in retaliate with crude, handmade rockets. The missiles fall short, injure little. They are nothing more than a swarm of buzzing bees, easily swatted aside and doing little but angering your oppressors. Your crude rockets are nothing compared to their fighter planes, their tanks, their cluster bombs, their rifles, and their guns. Their artillery rips through your homes, your schools, your place of worship. It leaves behind piles of rubble, broken bodies, and rivers of blood.
You wait for the world to hear your cries, your pleas. Are you less than human? Is that why these acts of inhumane immorality are allowed to continue? A silent death, a reduction to subhumane existence by blockade or a death by fire while you fight for your dignity? Which will you choose?
In a movie that rocked the world, Mel Gibson said: Aye, fight and you may die, run and you’ll live. At least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom?!
That is your life. Your choice. How will you choose? Death as animals in a concrete cage? Or death with dignity, fighting for your freedom?
That is my ‘Middle Eastern comparison.’ Please, please, please wake up!!! These are humans. Our brothers and sisters – not through race or religion. Through human kind. Please.
You want the truth? Read the Gaza Diaries written by Mohammed Ali for Al Jazeera. They are in English. Here is a list of some diary entries by Mohammed Ali. Here is another by Omar: Not a Life for Children.