It’s been a month now since Israel began its offensive on Gaza. nearly 1900 Palestinians later another ceasefire is called. Wait…did you notice what I just did? I lumped together 1900 lives as though it was normal, as though these 1900 men, women and children were only a number but you know what? That’s what Israel wants. It wants to cheapen the lives of Palestinians and they think they can do that by killing Palestinians by the dozen.
It’s easier for people across the globe to turn a blind eye when humans turn into numbers. What israel miscalculated was the power of social media and campaigns to Humanize Palestinians, and the fact that twitter and Facebook brought this atrocities to the world, real time.
Ramadan, a time of personal reflection fro Muslims turned into a time of massive grief for myself and many others who feel an affinity to Palestine. My Facebook feed which normally would have been full of summer time photos of family and friends was instead full of the horrific news coming from Gaza.
Bombs rain on Gaza.
Women and children dead from Gaza.
Fathers lost families in Gaza.
Women and children dead from Gaza.
Mothers lost children in Gaza.
Best friends dead in Gaza.
Social media ablaze with tragedy, live, from Gaza.
Images Can’t be Undone
Every story I read or picture coming out of Gaza, I can’t help but relate it to my own life, to the people directly in my life. Two instances in particular haunt me continuously. One: the interview by Ayman Mohyeldin with a father who lost everything. This man, Hassan Al Hallaq, was laying badly injured and speaking through his hurt. Early thirties, well-educated, eloquent. This man lost his 2 young boys and pregnant wife. Ya Allah! Watching this man speak I could hardly breathe. My emotions stuck in my throat felt like they were suffocating me. i couldn’t help but relate his scenario to my own life. This could have been my family. This could have been any of our families.
Every time he closes his eyes, this man will see his children, his wife and unborn baby. Imagine the devastating pain? The reality is, we just can’t. It’s too great to grasp.
This man’s reality can not be undone.
Another haunting image that stalks my memory is of a mother laying dead on a stretcher, her eyes wide open as if she was staring at something beyond anything any of us could see. Her son, no more than 2 years old sits next to her. The caption stated the boy wouldn’t stop crying until he was put next to his mother. Once by his mother’s side he was quiet. Ya Allah, ya Allah!
I can not help but think of my own son, whose restlessness and crankiness is not put to ease unless he lays his head on my shoulder. What will this innocent baby now do? Where will he lay his head? Who will ease his pain? He will grow up without the love of a mother. Stolen by Israel and shamefully funded with my US tax dollars.
Palestinian Diaspora Copes
What we feel as the Palestinian Diaspora pales in comparison to what the people of Gaza have been through, living under Israeli assault and occupation … yes, even after the 2000 pull-out they were still occupied because their lives were ultimately controlled by Israel.
The only power we have now is to utilize our voices. Speak out, inform and educate those who are engrossed in ignorance. We need to push policy to favor justice and not only blind support of a theological, racist state. It is our form of resistance, it is how we will cope with our pain.
If you’d like to join this campaign #InterviewPalestinians, and share your reflections on the past month whether you’re in or outside Gaza, let me know. It’s a way of coping, shifting through our own emotions and finding productive means forward.