Friday, July 9

For Gaza

Let me state this plainly:

I am not anti-Israel. I believe that Israel has a right to exist as valid as any other nation state. I don't know if I would have made the same choices that were made in the late 1940's, but that's water under the bridge. Israel exists and has a right to continue to exist.

I am not pro-Palestine. I believe that the nation state is one of the poorer inventions of the human species. Show me a nation-state and I will show you an institution that will want something that someone else possesses, and will fight and kill for it if they get the opportunity.

I am not anti-Israeli. The Israeli people are a vibrant and dynamic culture with much to offer the world.

I am not pro-Hamas. Hamas, as much as the nation-state of Israel, has many crimes to answer for. I do not condone or approve of terrorism or violence no matter how much I might understand the frustration and anger that spawns it.

What I am is anti-Israeli government and policy in so much as that government and policy considers it justifiable to marginalize 1.5 million people and dictate their quality of life so that it is, at best, an existence of bare subsistence.

I am pro-Palestinian. Palestinians are a people. Like the Israelis, they have a vibrant and dynamic culture to share with the world. Like the Israelis, they deserve the opportunity to exist and flourish.

I am pro-Gaza. It is for the 1.5 million citizens of Gaza that my heart aches, that my teeth grind, that my fists clench.

They are impoverished for no reason other than an arrogant belief that one people are more worthy than another; denied the rights that we consider most basic because one culture has decreed they are less worthy; refused the basic goods required to build their homes and feed their children because a group of developed nations have decided that it is justifiable to punish an entire people for what they consider to be the sin of  poor democratic choice.

The international community of nations tout themselves as wise statesmen acting in the best interest of humanity, but they are not. Rather, they are bullies, the largest and most immature children in the playground vying for control of a global sandbox. They do not speak for me. They do not speak for you. They speak for themselves and those economic concerns that promise them fame, power and fortune.

I am anti-bully. Bullies steal from others so that they can grow fatter and bigger. They beat up those that they can to feel powerful in a vain attempt to prove their arrogance justifiable. They say that they are protecting us, but really it's more like a protection racket, an organized crime. All this can be yours,, they say, if you will just shut up and follow the program.

We cannot shut up. In the name of all of those values that our rulers give lip service to but never honor, in the name of true morals like empathy and justice and equality, in the name of simple dignity, we cannot shut up.

Instead we must remember the weak, embrace those who have been cast out and called unclean, stand up for those who cannot, dissent from the lie of the status quo. If we will not stand now for those who are beaten down, who will stand for us when we are the slaves, the marginalized, the disenfranchised?

There must be a better way, and if our 'leaders' will not seek it, then we are the ones that must demand it with more conviction, more peace, more resolve. Our leaders must be made to remember. And for that to happen, we cannot forget.

Gaza, we remember you. And we will not forget. Or rest.