Blood, death, and destruction, and more blood, death, and destruction , and more blood, death, and destruction. That is the history of Gaza past, and the history of Gaza present, but we must ask ourselves, once the smoking rubble clears, the graves are dug, and the bodies buried, whether it must also be the history of Gaza future.
Today America is riveted by pictures of murdered Israeli party goers, shocked by the audacity and surprise of the offensive, which caught the vaunted Israeli Defense Force (IDF) with its pants down, and rife with speculation about Israel’s response, Saudi Arabian diplomacy, and possible Hezbollah and Iranian involvements.
Perhaps, however, the world will finally wake up to the fact that the life of a Palestinian child is as precious as the life of an Israeli child, that murder of civilians is a war crime no matter who perpetrates it, and that hate and vengeance only perpetuate hate and vengeance.
American cities are increasing security, but there have been no “credible threats” against Jews or Muslims in the United States
The American Jewish and Muslim communities are rightly concerned about the potential for sectarian violence. However, although American cities have been increasing security, especially in anticipation of demonstrations, there have not yet been any “credible threats” against American Jews or Muslims.
Do not look away, America, at the deeds done in your name with your money and your blessing.
But as President Joe Biden reflexively announces his “rock solid” support for Israel, Americans seem oblivious to the possibility that the world may have views and hear stories different from their own.
Leaving aside American romanticized and fictionalized understanding of Israel’s carefully orchestrated and brutally executed plan to dispossess the Palestinians over the course of the past century, America should at least take a hard look at the suffering in Gaza and ask themselves if they can simply write those people off because of they are under the thumb of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Look back, America, and ask yourselves how you feel about what we did to the Vietnamese and Cambodians, and do not look away as Benjamin Netanyahu turns the world’s largest open-air prison into the world’s largest open-air abattoir with his “mighty vengeance.”
Moroccans take to the streets, while the government seeks to mediate.
Meanwhile, Moroccans have taken to the streets while the government seeks to mediate. The Moroccan government is seeking de-escalation of the conflict and has called for an emergency meeting of the Arab league.
America knows where hopelessness has led at home, so why are we surprised to see it abroad?
When riots in American cities broke out across the country during the sixties, seventies, and eighties, white America seemed to be surprised. (I watched the Los Angeles riots and at the bombing of the MOVE house in Philadelphia on television.) White Americans could not make sense of the fact that black people would burn down their own houses and smash the windows of their own shops in order to loot them. They had ignored the warnings of people like James Baldwin that confining people in crowded ghettos under miserable conditions without jobs, money, education, food, or hope for generations would inevitably lead to an explosion.
Yale alumni ostracized Kingman Brewster, the University’s President, after he observed that the Black Panthers could not get a fair trial in America.
As in Gaza, America in the twentieth century simply drifted toward catastrophe for generations and was wholly unprepared when it arrived.
Freedom to defend yourself raises a question about why you need to.
Naturally, when a gang member tries to knife you, you have the right to defend yourself. However, you might want to ask yourself how he came to be a gang member. And when you ask yourself that, you might further ask yourself why he lives in a neighborhood where gangs are the only viable economic enterprise. And if you are white, you might ask yourself what accident of history led to the fact that in so many of these neighborhoods, these people do not look like you, and the fact that so few of them live in your neighborhood.
Looked at another way, there was no doubt that we had to defend the American frontier against the predation of Native American “savages.” There were acts of appalling brutality perpetrated by both settlers and indigenous people. However, we defended it so successfully that there are almost no more Native Americans, and the ones that remain have almost no land. In case, you were wondering, we had many learned men, beginning with John Locke, who explained why the land belonged to us and not to them.
There is more to the world than America sees.
As we break out the popcorn to watch the sanitized spectacle of aerial bombardment explode on our television, let us reflect that once again, we who have stood by also have blood on our hands.
Perhaps we should also reflect on the fact the narrative we hear and the pictures we see are not necessarily the ones that the rest of the world sees and hears. Our sympathies are not universal. There are more dead and maimed than we see and mourn.
Requiescat in pace.
Note: featured photo taken in Gaza between 2016 and 2020.