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We Are All Gaza

by on August 22, 2011

Kuna Gaza.  We Are All Gaza.  When we say We Are All Gaza, that means we feel empathy for Gazans; that  is, we have an understanding of their emotions and feelings.  Today, now, always, We Are All Gaza.  We may also be Wisconsinites, and Minnesotans, and Californians (“California has the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the nation.  Out of 58 counties, 52 are suffering from double-digit unemployment – 21 of which exceed 15%.  One county, Imperial, has an astonishing unemployment rate of over 30%!”), and South Sudanese, and Israelis, and all others with whom we feel empathy.

Why on this day, and on all other days, should we all be Gazans?

Neither the circumstances, let alone the actual perpetrators of the attack on Israel have been identified so far, every Palestinian military faction has denied any involvement in it. But Gaza is blamed, as Gaza is always to be blamed for, Gaza must be punished, Gazan blood must flow so that the murder on Israelis will be avenged.

How much blood must still flow, you Israeli generals? How many Mahmouds [aged 13] and Maleks [aged 2] will have to die, how many women and children will have to be injured and killed? The signs suggest that it will still be many. And the signs suggest that the world is going to accept it. That it will accept that innocent people are being killed who had nothing but nothing to do with the attack on Israel.

But of course Palestinians must be “punished”, simply because they are Palestinians. I was at the protests against the Israeli embassy in Cairo. There were also Egyptian soldiers being killed. “Regrettable”, called Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister, the incident. Since when is it just a pity when you kill the soldiers of your neighboring country. The people outside the embassy were angry, they demanded the expulsion of the ambassador, removed the Israeli flag and replaced it with an Egyptian one.

As we speak, Gaza is being bombed. As we speak, innocent people are dying. If Israel doesn’t experience any resistance, any outcry, any appeal from the world public to act carefully, then a new massacre will happen. A ‘Cast Lead’ two. In which 1382 people were murdered in three weeks, including 320 children.

We in the West are told war is just when it is against the ‘other’ – the non-believer, the native, the foreigner, the terrorist, the Communist – and we in the West are in an unusually strong technological power and economic capacity to wage war on the ‘other.’ Therefore, we also have an unusually strong need to feel empathy for those who need our help (there are few who don’t). We the West are not the only ones who make war or sanction violence, but our unprecedented deterrent ability renders us, we think, safe from attack and free to attack others. Those ‘others,’ then, think themselves threatened, and rightly so when oppression of the ‘others’ brings about war, regardless of the perpetrator or initiator.

Why are we All Gaza now?  After all, wasn’t there a ceasefire?  Yes, but besides the necessity of empathy for those who are in occupied territory and those who are suffering, “a Hamas official on Sunday said that all of Gaza’s militant groups had agreed to a ceasefire with Israel, starting at 9 p.m. on Sunday evening, but as attacks continued through the night, fears about the implementation of the cease fire surfaced.”  The need for us – American, Israeli, United Nations citizens; Jews, Muslims, Christians and others – to stand with Palestine as they seek the right self-determination is continuing, and we hope, demand, and act that that need will end soon.  Until then, We Are All Gaza.

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