From the blog of my friend Masood Raja. To read more of Masood's blogs visit: Masood Raja for blogs on postcolonial literature and his political commentary.
As we witness in horror the carnage unleashed by the sophisticated Israeli war machine, the US media and most of their European cohorts have also launched—as usual—a sophisticated barrage of racialized dissimulation. In the overall narrative of the coverage:
Hamas broke the truce by firing rockets into Israeli territories.
Israel has a right to self-defense
Bombing of Gaza = Self defense
Nowhere in this overarching narrative can one find a reference to the material suffering of the last one year that has brought Gaza to the brink. Let us remind ourselves:
Gaza has been under an Israeli embargo for the last year.
It is a city with the highest density of population per square mile in the world.
A twenty-four foot high WALL surrounds the city.
The two exits—one on Israeli side and the other on Egyptian side—have been mostly closed for the last year.
So these people, with the highest density of population in the world, have been living in the worst kind of collective jail for almost an year, but we still want them to act as if their lives are similar to any settler across the wall or any other citizen of the so-called civilized world.
The media narrative also emphasizes the fact that Israel hit ‘symbols of Hamas’ and about 175 of the people killed in the last three days were members of the police. As if by being part of the police force of Gaza, they had automatically forfeited their right to live. But here is the ultimate irony: If the cause of the attack is to force Hamas to stop people from firing rockets at Israel, then how in the ‘hell’ will Hamas do that if its entire security/police infrastructure has been destroyed?
Yesterday I also listened to a most bizarre coverage of the bombing by BBC. The BBC commentator was broadcasting from the home of an Israeli settler family. The participants, all youg educated people, were supporters of the bombing. The few callers, who called from Gaza, despite being bombed and despite their limited English abilities, were silenced by these suburban war sympathizers for not organizing themselves against the policies of Hamas. So here were these young Palestinians, both of whom had lost relatives in the bombing, being lectured by these middle-class, educated and privileged Israeli war sympathizers about the importance of resistance. And no one, of course not the BBC reporter, grasped the irony in this. What the Israeli war sympathizers wanted was for the Gazans to, somehow transcend their own lived reality and see it from the point of view of their oppressors.
What was also missing in this staged encounter between the two unequal groups was any reference to the material conditions of Gaza. Is it fair to put people in a collective jail, cut off from the world, so that the only form of civic dispensation comes from one party alone—Hamas—and then expect them to, somehow, revolt against it? Unless the logic behind this entire exercise is to break the Palestinian will to a point where they are so pacified that they stop asking for any form of justice, but that policy of creating the samideen failed a long time ago, and numerous reconquests of Gaza are not going to quash the traces of Palestinian national identity.
So this is my question to my enlightened friends and colleagues from the West: Why is it that when it comes to peoples' rights in South Africa, Africa, China, Tibet and elsewhere, you raise your voices to oppose it, but when it comes to Palestinians all you have to offer is an indifferent silence? Are Palestinian rights less sacred than others; is their blood cheaper than European or American blood?
Think about it!
Peace and Love.