Wednesday, July 1, 2009

In Gaza, "why do they hate us" isn't a rhetorcial question

Yesterday a boat carrying 21 international peace activists and humanitarian aid to Gaza was seized by the Israeli navy while in international waters. You won’t read about it in the mainstream press, or hear it on CNN. But nobody expects these corporate managed media machines to report the story. On the other hand, sites like Turthout and Alternet aren’t covering it either. In fact, Huffington Post has a headline link to a story about Joe the Plumber but nothing about pirating of the Free Gaza Boat by Israel. I can’t imagine that Gazans don’t feel completely abandoned by America when supposedly liberal media sources here seem to be ignoring this story.

“Why do they hate us” are words of broad discriminatory meaning. And the entire population of Gaza deserve the rights to this question. The Palestinian people aren't even allowed to receive a tiny amount of humanitarian aid being brought by a small group of peace loving people. And as a Jewish state, Israel has been given permission by the international community to deny the Palestinian population the same human rights that Israelis and the rest of the world are guaranteed under international law.

The worst form of discrimination is the indiscriminate killing of human beings by design as the Nazis did during World War II. But can the random death sentence of innocent people ever be justified as the cost of modern warfare? When it's our people it's a war crime. When it's people of another race, it's inhumanely passed off as collateral damage.

In the fields where Hamas rockets have fallen, innocent Israelis rightfully wonder “why do they hate us”. When the planes struck the twin towers, innocent New Yorkers wondered why. Fear of imminent death lends personal realism to the question. It cries out in pain and fear as one wonders why the leaders of a nation or movement sent the executioners to take the lives of family members, friends and neighbors.

But the farther one lives from the paralyzing sound of explosions, the more the question morphs into the rhetorical. No one from Florida to Alaska or even Albany NY could claim to have been traumatized the way people in Lower Manhattan were. At best we asked “why do the hate us” as a display of empathy. But in Gaza’s tiny and highly congested communities, there was no escaping the Israeli bombing raids. To an entire people, the question is personal.

All of Gaza has a right to ask “Why do they hate us”. Just like we in America afford those offended by harassment and discrimination the right to grieve the injustices they feel, all of Gaza has justifiable right to claim Israel’s siege is a hate crime. All of Gaza has the right to grieve the Israeli attacks a state sponsored terrorism. They have a human right to seek justice. But when our national leaders, and parts of our liberal media, ignore their plea to be heard, Gazans rightfully wonder “why don’t we have the same human rights that Americans want to give the rest of the world."

1 comment:

Linda said...

It's shameful that this kind of crime isn't reported. Why are people so interested in knowing the comings and goings of Hollywood celebrities, but not in the basic human rights of a whole population of people? It makes no sense to me.

by Rich in Juneau