There are quite a number of things that are very bothersome: waiting in the long Tim Horton’s line; deforestation so humans can live; friends who text back an “ok” in response to a monologue etc. etc. But what bothers me the most to the point of a constant thorn pricking my side is the desensitization of human beings to someone else’s hardships, emotions, conflicts, war, blood and death. In these modern times, especially after technological revolution and witnessing the two great world wars of the last century, there has been an empathetic hush, partly as a protective mechanism. More and more people either uninvolved or misinformed about the contemporary local and global events presume to be prescient about the whys, the whats and the hows; meanwhile, discounting, for the most part, the psychological and physiological semantics of the parties involved, especially if it concerns a personal gain. We have only to look at the countless examples in history. One such momentous one was the testing of the nuclear bomb during WWII on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Did it not destroy thousands of lives?
It is sad to see people disregarding someone else to such an extent. What does that say about our society? About our future? Are we so captivated with this materialistic society and what it is able to provide us with? Have we become the very robots that we are creating?
Recently, the controversial conflict between Israel and Gaza has been an anomaly of sorts. It surprised and unsettled me a lot to read views of those who justified any action that would lead to the deaths of innocents, especially children, under any situation. Every life has its own worth. The protection of some lives at the cost of others is inexcusable. Drones attacks to catch a stray terrorist among all of the other civilians are humanely cruel and logistically impractical. If one is caught despite seven other civilian casualties, for example, then it is termed mission successful. On one hand, we criticize some for their appetite for power; yet, other leaders manipulate several variables to justify and expand power.
This constant struggle to achieve such an end with any means possible is unbelievably sad. Are we truly superior? Is this superiority over other species worth it?
Palestine has been occupied since 1947 by Israel with the aid of UN, US and Britain. UN sanctioned lands to both sides – to apparently appease Palestinians – but, mainly, due to sentiments towards the Israel. The balance tilts mainly towards the Israelis. “Arab rejection was…based on the fact that, while the population of the Jewish state was to be [only half] Jewish with the Jews owning less than 10% of the Jewish state land area, the Jews were to be established as the ruling body — a settlement which no self-respecting people would accept without protest, to say the least.” (Sami Hadawi, “Bitter Harvest.”)
However, Israel, fresh out of the very unfortunate Holocaust experience, chose to misuse the international sympathy and guilt. “In internal discussion in 1938 [David Ben-Gurion] stated that ‘after we become a strong force, as a result of the creation of a state, we shall abolish partition and expand into the whole of Palestine.” (Noam Chomsky, “The Fateful Triangle.”) It went ahead with mass destruction of homes, people, lives and the economy. The reason being solely politics and greed. Eventually, as a response, the Arabs had to react, which the Israelis incorrectly twisted into a justification (Hadawi).
The occupation did not end in peace. Basic human rights were blatantly ‘exercised’; most commonly “water quotas restrict usage by Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, while Israeli settlers have almost unlimited amounts.” (Betty Jane Bailey, in “The Link”, December 1996.) The Israeli policy of punitive counterattacks (or state terrorism) seems to be to try to kill anywhere from 50 to 100 Arabs for every Jewish fatality. The devastation of Lebanese refugee camps, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, and orphanages; the summary arrests, deportations, house destructions, maimings, and torture of Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza..these, and the number of Palestinian fatalities, the scale of material loss, the physical, political and psychological deprivations, have tremendously exceeded the damage done by Palestinians to Israelis.” (“The Question of Palestine.”) The downright apparent media bias serves to ‘save’ Israeli international face. After all, not many bother to look undercover. Even if any one does, are historical accounts guaranteed?
Unfortunately, Israel presented “a revisionist point of view to a large extent by the declassification of relevant archival material in Israel, Britain and the United States.” (ifamericansknew.org) The UN did repeatedly condemn Israel’s consistent crimes, which still remains a horrific reality for the Palestinians.
Furthermore, a decade ago, the Palestinian outrage sparked a revolution, which was “undoubtedly fueled by the resentment caused by years of daily abuse and humiliation under Israeli occupation (Rachelle Marshall, “The Peace Process Ends in Protests and Blood”, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 2000), was crushed with equal brutality.
The US has supplied military help to Israel and it will continue to do so. A party that claims to be the “mediator” does not fuel or excuse violence. It does not present biased reports of events through media. It does not justify violence of any form, under any condition(s).
“World opinion is always on the side of the underdog. In this fight, we are Goliath and they are David. In the eyes of the world [outside the US], the Palestinians are fighting a war of liberation against a foreign occupation. We are in their territory, not they on ours. We are the occupiers, they are the victims. This is the objective situation, and no minister of propaganda can change that.” (Israeli peace activist. Uri Avnery, “12 Conventional Lies About the Palestine-Israeli Conflict” from Palestine Media Watch, http://www.pmwatch.org.)
On a conclusive note, it is understandable that Hamas chooses to retaliate, albeit unsuccessfully. Hamas who is now apparently fueling Israel’s justified “self-defence” genocide. Hamas whose members have grown within the injustice and hate. Hamas, who as per Israel’s reports, committed war crimes.
Who holds the legal power? Who are the real terrorists?
As I got home from a long day, this link urged me to let out my personal views on this topic.
There have been a lot of bloggers, journalists and opinionated people who have voiced out their concerns over the resulting chaos and brutal inhumanity of the civil war in Syria, which began in 2010/2011. It has been three years now, yet, as we speak, people and children are starving, crying in desperation and dying. As we sit here in our homes, there are those out there who yearn for just a peaceful night at any available aid camp.
Yet, here we are “arguing who should sit at the table”. Children like Mohammad witness traumatic events that would continue to torment them over the course of their lives and, perhaps, even future generations; yet, here we are discussing the possibility of Iran misusing its nuclear power and signing a deal for its compliance at the Geneva peace conference.
The question is what are the limitations? It took chemical raids on the population of Syria for the US and UN to step. Shouldn’t the death of innocent civilians be motivation enough?
Have our hearts hardened?
This 21st century turned humans to adopt an empathetic-at-a-distance attitude. If it doesn’t concern immediate security of the majority of the countries and stays under the international alarm radar then otherwise disapproving acts get brushed under the carpet. This realization, along with the destruction, is the addition of the chilling factor to Syrian faith.