- As Gaza’s children are killed by U.S.-made thousand-pound bombs, it’s becoming tougher and tougher to remain a mute spectator to the nightmare of humanity getting crushed by hegemony, rage and revenge.
Thousands of miles away, in the glittering landscape of the make-believe reality of social media, the Palestine-Israel war doesn’t exist. Beautiful people, happy babies, delicious recipes, fancy vacation pics – it’s all there. Beautiful Diwali celebrations, brilliant sons and daughters being feted by proud parents, and always that Facebook algorithm that throws in adverts based on your shopping history online that never manages to not draw you in. One would think the genocide happening in that part of the world was the alternate reality – a rather macabre video game showing the butchery and murder, the bombings, and the killing fields.
It’s becoming tougher and tougher to remain a mute spectator to this unfolding nightmare of humanity getting crushed by hegemony, rage, and revenge. But deep down, even as we celebrate and sip heady wine with friends, there is this deep-seated sadness, as well as rage at our own impotency, our inability to do nothing, say nothing, and forced to act normal while the madness unleashed in another part of the world stays out of bound — a chimera, someone else’s problem. Our politicians have let us down, our diplomates are mere spokespersons of the vested interests their leaders have decided the country needs. Who then, are we – mere mortals to question those “big,” important decisions?
I stopped watching CNN because of their highly partisan and skewered reporting on this war. I watch Al Jazeera and BBC World News sometimes, but most of the news I have been getting is via Twitter and from friends. I am watching babies by the dozen lying on beds, while the doctors are heard saying they will all die sooner than later as the incubators they were supposed to be in, safe and secure, have stopped working. Outside, the ambulances carrying the injured are bombed even as yet another news channel gives breaking news of the lone under-operating Al-Shifa Hospital in Northern Gaza has been taken over by the Israeli army and tanks because the U.S. and Israel suspect there are Hamas fighters in the basement.
Over a million Palestinians have already been displaced and have nowhere to go. Folks here in the U.S. ask me why the rich Arab countries don’t give shelter to these people – Palestinians. But no one wants to engage in the sheer absurdity of these suggestions. Imagine if someone comes into your home, decides they want it, and then tells you to leave or go find shelter with relatives (I’m paraphrasing a Twitter forward). It reminds me of Marie Antonette – the much-maligned monarch with her famed tone-deaf “if they are hungry and there’s no bread, let them eat cake” comment! Or why do only Black lives matter, ALL lives matter! These statements are non-starters, destined to either enrage you with their sheer tone-deafness or make you hurry over to the nearest exit.
I don’t know what to believe anymore. When I read history books, I am told in those pages and tomes that Palestine was once this happy land full of olives and dates, where people – Jewish people, Muslims, and Christians lived in peace for thousands of years. Then came the British and they did what they did best – divide and conquer. They, along with other European allies decided to “give” Palestine to the Jewish people that they (Europeans) had subjected to horrific treatment for thousands of years. “You people have your own land now – it’s an empty piece of land and it belongs to you now.”
Only it wasn’t empty. There were people – Palestinians – who were forced out of their ancestral land, during the 1948 Nakba, and repeatedly through the decades. Over time, the new nation-state of Israel, emboldened by its superior weaponry and nukes, courtesy of the United States and other Western Allies, started taking over more and over land, forcing Palestinians into two narrow strips of land. And even then, the new settlements kept creeping up into the already congested and compressed Palestinian lands. Guess, generations of Palestinians who grew up in these open-air prisons, have resented their forced exile and confinement.
When I talk to Israeli citizens and with those who are sympathetic to the Israeli cause – the rather tricky situation Israel finds itself, surrounded by baying mobs of those who openly deny them their right to live peacefully. They tell me how Israel always needs to stay alert to threats and violence from its neighbors. I look at the Israeli cityscapes that can be any other European big city, their perfectly manicured lawns, and pristine roads and highways. I hear stories of how young Americans in droves move to Israel to have fun in the exotic lands and try to “find” themselves and their Jewish roots. In short, prosperity reigns in this new-ish country. A lot of this has to be due to the sheer determination of its people, of course. In contrast, when you look at Palestinian towns and cities, you hear of the dense, concrete urban landscape of the West Bank and Gaza and how Israel has “occupied” them for its own safety. And you begin to wonder.
Who is right? Who is wrong? Is there any truth to the news of huge oil reserves “discovered” off Gaza shores or that Americans and others have a vested interest in them, including the British and even India, the staunchest ally Israel seems to have right now? What I do know is how history is again getting written by the powers of the day, in the process humanity be damned.
Kuhu Singh lives in Eden Prairie, Minn., a suburb of the Twin Cities. Bidding adieu to journalism a decade ago, she nonetheless loves to write and express her very strong opinions on social media and blogs and sometimes in a few Indian publications. She is a Senior Digital Marketing Manager for a broadcast retail company. Race relations, diversity, and social issues fascinate and roil her into action. She volunteers her time with certain political and community organizations.