Are we still fighting?
"WEST BANK - Six months of a crippling international embargo on the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) has brought its economy to a virtual standstill.
As a result, children are being driven increasingly to find work to help support their families. According to the Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), 40,000 children under 18 work in oPt - 73 percent of whom were forced to work due to severe financial conditions.
Subhi goes to al-Hawawer checkpoint every morning, dragging his steel handcart behind him. He competes with other boys to get two or three shekels (45 to 70 US cents) a time for carrying the luggage of travelers". Read the rest here.
I stopped at the word travelers. I wonder who these travelers are and I wondered why they leave. Then I realized that these travelers don’t have to be leaving, they might be tourists coming to visit Israel in the summer. They could be like the many that are moving back to Israel “the promised land” as part of a new born Zionist plan. They come back to make it even tighter for the Palestinians to live. It could be citizens coming home after a long vacation somewhere in south Europe or South America or maybe doing business in the US. Let’s face it coming or leaving, you have to come across some of these sites of misery and you have to wonder while you see these little faces racing and begging for money. You have to know. Then I remembered this poster I saw in the elevator the other day. It was a promotional free trip to Israel for the students at Einstein. It was intended for medical students who are Jewish (of course) and followed a very well planned trip that covered all the main ‘attractions’ and the best the ‘Jewish’ land can offer. How nauseating to see those pictures of people rafting and swimming after I see heart wrenching pictures of starving kids, in that same country, but just so happen to live on the other side of justice. Kids whose misery and pain invisible to most.
What has been very surprising to me is that, aside from the Lebanon/Israel war, all the raids and siege and turmoil that the Israeli government had bestowed on the Palestinians in Gaza after the Hamas election went completely unnoticed even by Israelis. How could there be a country where part of the population is living a complete and utter injustice and inhumanity and suffering under the most brutal illegal occupation and the other part of the population lives and thrives and surfs and apply to scientific conferences and go on summer vacations?
Then I remembered Lebanon! Pictures of parties in Brummana, tea in Marjiyoun...
Throughout the war, I kept quiet. I wrote about things that bring us together. We had to keep a united front. We had to stay strong and then everything follows. The war is now over and I see a lot of people taking the first chance (many did not even wait for the war to end) to attack the other party accusing them of taking a unilateral decision (so ironic) of war and peace, etc.. Away from politics, I would like to register my first resentment against a part of the Lebanese people who appeared to be, if not indifferent in the most part, even apologetic to the enemy and downright encouraging to the killing of the people in the South. Very daring to say that but we all have heard it one way or another. I have personally heard it from our coordinators. I have heard it from personnel at the embassies having tried to get heads of congregations to encourage people to protest to the killing of civilians. We have all seen it on CNN. I will come out and say this. I do not come from any denomination. Growing up, I remember Christmas at Albert Mansour as I remember Ramadan with the Mufti. I am, however, against people who stand solely opposed to their fellow human beings based on their religion or their political status. I cannot still believe in a leader that looked the other way as massacres took place or believe in one that promoted massacres. Based on that, I am against all the criminals in power. The suits and the moustaches, the autocrats and the theocrats, the communists, the Arab nationalists, the fascists, the leaders of the mountains, the criminals of Damour and Karantina and Sabra and Shatila, the little heroes who reminisce of the black times while chuckling here and there. With each chuckle I see a dying woman. With each notion of victory a dying child and a dying nation and our dead dreams.
I have heard the silliest attacks on one religion against another. Calling mohammad a criminal and Islam a religion of wars. As if your bible is not, like mine, a saga of wars and battles. As if the crusaders invaded with knowledge or understanding. I have heard accusations They call their tactics shock and awe. My dear dear fellow Lebanese of all faiths, denominations, loyalties and schools of thoughts, we brag about being immune to shock and immune to awe. It is true. I was devastated during this war but I was not shocked. What shocks me is our history. What awes me is our politics. For how many black days and black decades are we willing to withstand before we become a people.
Wars will remain wars. The land of turmoil still boils. Moses’ hands are not clean of military maneuvering, trickery and looting. The heroes of invasions and conquers and battles in the name of religion and profit and expansion and roots and belonging and prevailing are nothing but war criminals. The Israelites and the philistines fought till death over land. We still are perpetuating this same legacy today. Aside from fighting over seats and over our historical divisions and conflicts, let’s fight for some children who are fighting to survive. While we're at it, let's fight for our dignity.