Even when our leaders engage in the type of demonization that educates our children to believe the other side isn’t even worthy of speaking to, they still see the value in talking — even while they kill each other. Some thoughts about Gaza.
By the time you read this there’s a pretty good chance a war will have broken out between Israel and any number of militant groups in Gaza. By the time I wrote this, too many people had already been killed. And yet it can stop. It must stop.
I’m not talking about the broader conflict. Clearly the siege must be lifted and the people of Gaza must be given the same freedoms, security, rights, and opportunities as every Israeli or anyone else in the world.
Today, it is the more immediate context of this killing that gives me a tiny sliver of hope to mitigate the immense sadness and anger that accompany seeing photos and videos of dead children, bombed out homes, guided missiles and unguided rockets flying toward homes, Israelis running to bomb shelters and Gazans just running because they have no shelters.
LAST NIGHT IN GAZA CITY: Palestinians seeking for cover from Israeli bombardmentsas the escalation continues. Since Friday, 7 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, and one Israeli civilian was killed by a rocket launched Gaza. Video by Mohammed Zaanoun/Activestills.org pic.twitter.com/Rt1AM73xX5
— Activestills (@activestills) May 5, 2019
That hope comes from the fact that Israel and Hamas have been engaged in cease-fire talks for months now and that this shooting and killing — again, without forgetting the ever-present context of occupation and siege and humanitarian disaster — is the result of those talks breaking down.
That hope is drawn from the fact that Israel and Hamas are talking about not killing each other — even while they’re killing each other.
I can’t repeat enough that even a multi-year cease fire would not be enough. It would not absolve a single one of us from doing whatever we can to ensure that millions of people aren’t subject to collective punishment and the whims of foreign politicians and military commanders for access to potable water, electricity, food, medical supplies, and the right to move within one’s own country let alone travel abroad. It doesn’t absolve us of righting historic wrongs, seeking equitable solutions, and demanding security, equality, and full civil and human rights for all. It doesn’t mean we can pretend like there is anything remotely close to an equal distribution of responsibility for the situation, for all of the power lies in the hands of one side and one side alone.
But it does mean that talking is still possible. It means that even when our leaders engage in the type of demonization of the other that educates our children to believe the other side isn’t even worthy of speaking to, they still see the value in talking. It means that there is at least a small sliver of hope for change that doesn’t involve another round of unthinkable violence.
That said, by the time you are reading this there’s a decent chance that war will have broken out, or will simply be a matter of time. And in that case, hope lies in our hands alone — in making sure the world hears our demands that the violence end, that the bombings and rockets stop, the fighter jets stay grounded, and that the people of Gaza be freed.
There is, of course, one more sliver of hope, perhaps the most cynical: that Israel doesn’t want the Eurovision competition to be marred or canceled by a war, and will therefore find a way to back down, at least for now. When bombs are falling, for now is enough.