Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gaza: A boy and his cat

Dear friends,

Over the last three weeks I have spent an enormous amount of time on social media following what is happening in Gaza and speaking with friends there. I have lost count of the times I have just burst into tears reading the accounts or viewing the images tweeted and posted by ordinary Palestinians, doctors and media in Gaza.

However, I have made it a rule to try to avoid as much as possible reading the comments in response to these posts because invariably many of them are by Zionist hasbara (propaganda) trolls, shilling in defence of Israel's massacres and regurgitating the standard Zionist talking points of the Israeli government. No matter what horror or human tragedy is reported, the suffering of their fellow human beings is either ignored or worst still, at times, rejoiced in by these shills.

As a political activist, I understand intellectually and politically why and how this happens, but on a emotional level I just can not get my head around how people can completely ignore the dire impact of this murderous rampage against a largely defenseless population locked in an open air prison for more than 8 years. I can't comprehend on an emotional level, how people can ignore the suffering and trauma that is being inflicted on 1.8 million people. As the death toll rises and more children are killed, I can not comprehend on a human emotional level how anyone, whatever your ideology or your politics, can turn a blind eye to the horrors in Gaza.

Amongst the photos and posts, there have been many bloody images but the ones that usually upset me the most are not these ones, as horrible as they are. It is usually the ones which show the simply humanity of the people of Gaza, as they try to survive these horrible and harrowing times.

How can you not be moved by images such as this one which was just tweeted this morning by one of the Palestinian doctors, Dr Belal Dabour, working in Shifa Hospital in Gaza?

The death toll in Gaza has now exceeded that of Operation Cast Lead. As of 31 July, Israel has now killed more Palestinians in Gaza than they did in Operation Cast Lead in 2008/2009. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza (PCHR), Israel has now killed 1432 people during its 24 day assault on Gaza. Of this number, 1219 are civilian (85%) and 345 are children. Israel has injured 6511. According PCHR, 1,417 Palestinians were killed and 5303 injured in Israel's 22 day Operation Cast Lead.

Now more than ever the people of Gaza and Palestine need our voices. Please join the rallies, marches and actions in your city, please write letters to your local political representative, please join the Palestinian BDS campaign, please speak out at your church, community group and in your union, ask them to pass motions condemning the massacre in Gaza and ask them to support the BDS campaign.

And please remember, always, the humanity of the people of Gaza - that they are and always will be someone's beloved son or daughter, mother or father, grandparent, wife, husband, cousin, aunt, uncle, nephew, niece, friend and loved one. That their lives, like all lives, not matter what your religion, nationality, ethnicity or gender, are precious and that they are not just a statistic.

in solidarity, Kim

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