Gaza burns. It does. It’s been burning for years now. Everyday for the last 40 odd years people die in Palestine because of the Political conflict in the region. No, not only because of Israel, because of Syria who slaughtered Palestinians as if it was an abattoir and Jordan who did the same. At times it was even Lebanon who killed Palestinians, innocent Palestinians, civilian Palestinians.
In a day, over 300 Palestinians were killed and Gaza is in every paper and on the news and blogs are full of information and inbox’s are filled with pictures of dying children in Palestine. Their brutality and the gruesomeness of seeing the blood and the guts, doesn’t quite make me retch like it used to and I know that in many ways I have become immune to it. It doesn’t mean though that I don’t care. It’s just that images like that are becoming something, one sees all the time and so we become desensitized to it.
I spoke to a young Lebanese man this morning about what is happening in Gaza right now. His hate for Israel was so fierce, it was only matched by his empathy for what the Palestinians were going through. He was surprised that I’m not more passionate about speaking out against Israel. I’m not. Simply because I know what to expect from Israel and I know that no demonstrations, no letters to foreign ministers, nothing will change Israel or their tactics. The long history that the Palestinian people have with Israel tells us everything we know about them. Israel is an enemy, that’s it. Bottom line and all enemy’s set out to destroy and that is what Israel is doing.
My contempt and what makes the bile rise in my throat is the puppet so called “Muslim” leaders. To me, the blood of Palestinians are on their hands. They must take responsibility for their contribution to the suffering of these innocent people. I was reading an article this morning where this guy talks about the Lebanese fight against Israel in 1982, where they were avenging the deaths of Palestinian people. While they fought and bled, the rest of the Arab world like Saudi, Jordan, Iran, Syria sat back and celebrated the victory of Algeria over Germany in the World Cup. With abit more reading from different sources, it seems that the Christian Lebanese also fought alongside their fellow Muslim countrymen. Where were the other Muslim countries and their armies?
It was a Syrian Israeli agent who led the massacre at Sabra and Shatilla, where was Syria’s Muslim government then? When Israel was destroying Lebanon only two years ago, where was Saudi, where was Iran who made empty promises of helping? They were nowhere to be found.
So while our so called “Muslim” governments sleep with the enemy and pretend to us otherwise, I think we have bigger problems than Israel. Until we get proper leaders who truly represent Islam and truth, we will keep dying, until we as a Muslims begin to act as an Ummah, lives will be lost in the name of religion. Lets sort ourselves out, lets become one community and then let’s worry about Israel. For as long as we betray each other, stab each other in the back, work against each other and not feel for our next brother what we feel for ourselves we are lost and Israel can do what it pleases with us, and that’s the bottom line.
And while we remember Gaza now because it’s splashed across our papers, lets try and always remember and be active in our efforts to help the Palestinian people and the people of Darfur and Congo and Somalia and Afghanistan and Iraq and the Balkans and Kashmir and in our own home towns. While we eat the best every single day and while we waste food, while we wear the best and have roofs over our heads, lets try and do something for those people that are our neighbours. That’s what good Muslims do. That’s what good humans do.
The face of war is ugly. It’s ugly when the bombs go off and bullets rain down, when women are raped and children maimed. It’s ugly when innocent people like you and me, suffer because of decisions that the people who lead us make. War is ugly. but wars don’t end on the battle field. They go on.
When all the killing is done and the bombs stop and the tanks go home is, the war continues. Zehnab is an elderly woman now, I’m not sure how old she is but I know she is old enough to be my mother. She tells the story of how she first lost her son in Bosnia, he was shot in cold blood witnessed by her husband. Then the soldiers came and took her husband and her other son. She was forced to leave her home. They hid in someones barn when they had word that the soldiers were almost there. They were found and they gang raped her daughter and two other young girls. She remembers the sound of falling bombs and loud noises still make her jump. Her daughter was killed. Zehnab made her way to Germany where she had a sister and from there they came to Australia. She lives that war everyday.
But then there is Maura, the sound of a plane makes her scream and shake and she has a panic attack. On Australia day Maura has to be taken to the countryside because of the jets that fly over the city. While the rest of us look to the sky in awe at the grace with which these fighter planes cut through the air, Maura has to leave the city because her mind cannot stop the association of that noise with death. She tells me that she can smell the blood. Her children don’t really understand. They had to flee when they were young, too young to understand.
Then there are the men who sacrificed everything they worked for their whole lives. They sold what they could and in the dead of night they snuck out and they made their treacherous way paying people to smuggle them out. They got onto boats that are not fit to be in the water and braved the ocean in it’s might and made their way to countries like Australia. They made it here and we locked them up in detention centres like criminals while we processed them like sheep on the shearing line. Who knew if you’d be sent back or lucky enough to stay. If you could stay. how much of luck was that actually? You got to a country whose language you didn’t understand or speak. You had no family and had just managed to escape a war. Degrees which you held, no longer recognised. To survive you take any job you can, from being a cleaner to being a taxi driver or a baby sitter. Something that didn’t require too much English. You took what you could get, you a professor, a doctor or architect. You give up everything you once were and you are grateful for it. Because you have life and you can live without persecution.
These stories are nothing compared to the stories of so many people. These are some of the lucky ones. There are those people still stuck in a war zone, those that were born in war, lived under sanctions and the promise of only more war to come and have no doubt war came again and for the last 8 years, it has continued to rage. Sow what do we expect from these people who only know war? What are we creating? And as for those soldiers who take war to these places, what of them?
How much do you think they can kill before their own demons consume them? Their demons will at some point consume them and they will spread their wings and infect their own society. These soldiers are being made into killing machines and what goes around will come around.
Aunty Joyce is from Ruwanda, her son was taken at the age of 12, she was reunited with him when he was 19. It was a miracle that they were reunited. He is mentally unstable. Why? He remembers the people that he killed. They haunt him. He was 12 when he was brainwashed into killing people. The fact that he was saved was a miracle but not before it did it’s damage. He killed and butchered people and the posion of his memories is killing him.
So war is not confined to a certain country and it doesn’t end with the death of these innocent people. the effects of war comes to all of our doorsteps, the effects of it continues for years and years after the war is over.
We, who are meant to be the best of creation are worse than animals. Animals live by a code, they kill to eat, we humans have no such decency. We took the gift of free will and choice and abused it. We are the scum of the earth.