At least 370,000 children in Gaza are in need of specialized psychiatric and psychosocial support following Israel’s latest onslaught on the besieged enclave. The catastrophic level of hatred they have witnessed and experienced in 29 days alone is tragic beyond words.
Palestinian children are not taught to hate by their parents, cartoons or classmates. They witness terrifying, fierce, all-consuming hate firsthand from the illegal occupiers who unleash unprecedented terror against them since the day they are born.
They see it every time Israeli soldiers raid their homes to beat, torture, kidnap and detain their fathers, brothers and family members. They see it every time illegal Israeli settlers uproot, burn and cut down their families’ olive trees. They see it every time an Israeli soldier intimidates and humiliates their family at a checkpoint. They see it every time a sniper shoots a friend in cold blood on their way home from school. They see it every time a bulldozer, tank or missile decimates the only home they’ve ever known, destroying their sense of safety and security with a made-in-the-USA stamp of approval.
Hate is not inborn; it demands existence. Palestinian children are categorically reviled and abhorred since their birth. Unimaginable depths of terror, destruction and systemic violence have entrenched their entire existence.
They are not taught to hate.
"It is not the unloved who initiate disaffection, but those who cannot love because they love only themselves. It is not the helpless, subject to terror, who initiate terror, but the violent, who with their power create the concrete situation which begets the ‘rejects of life.’ It is not the tyrannized who initiate despotism, but the tyrants. It is not those whose humanity is denied them who negate humankind, but those who denied that humanity (thus negating their own as well). Force is used not by those who have become weak under the preponderance of the strong, but by the strong who have emasculated them."
— Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David.”
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think “Do I know any Davids in Gaza?”
They call us now to say
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.
They think of it as some kind of war time courtesy.
It doesn’t matter that
there is nowhere to run to.
It means nothing that the borders are closed
and your papers are worthless
and mark you only for a life sentence
in this prison by the sea
and the alleyways are narrow
and there are more human lives
packed one against the other
more than any other place on earth
We aren’t trying to kill you.
It doesn’t matter that
you can’t call us back to tell us
the people we claim to want aren’t in your house
that there’s no one here
except you and your children
who were cheering for Argentina
sharing the last loaf of bread for this week
counting candles left in case the power goes out.
It doesn’t matter that you have children.
You live in the wrong place
and now is your chance to run
It doesn’t matter
that 58 seconds isn’t long enough
to find your wedding album
or your son’s favorite blanket
or your daughter’s almost completed college application
or your shoes
or to gather everyone in the house.
It doesn’t matter what you had planned.
It doesn’t matter who you are
Prove you’re human.
Prove you stand on two legs.
Run. — "Running Orders" by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha (via theremina)
Imagine your house has just received a “door knock” from the Israeli army (a small missile that causes enough damage short of complete demolition that Israel uses to “warn” Palestinians to leave their homes). You grab whatever you can think of in the 1-2 minutes before the real missile hits. You’re out the door, hoping you and your children are far enough away so that you won’t get hurt by the shrapnel. And there’s some western journalist standing there with his camera pointed at you, taking pictures of your fear and misery. Imagine the absolute humiliation of that moment. You’re about to lose everything and someone wants to document it for the edification of white people in America, who will preen over Israel’s “merciful” consideration.
A very interesting documentary
"The Law In These Parts"—about the Israeli military law system set up in the Occupied Territories. Catch it soon, because it’s going to expire on September 18th!
I’ve actually seen it! And very much recommend it.