Tuesday, 5 August 2014

People need to get govts to act

Brave New World (The Star)
6 August 2014

Governments are not doing anything about the Gaza issue, and they will continue to do nothing, unless the citizens upon whom their power depends, demand they do something.


If one person dies, it is a tragedy. If a million die, it is a statistic.
This is a quote attributed to Stalin. It is grotesque and inhumane, but no less than one would expect from such a monstrous dictator.
Perhaps this idea is what goes through the head of Netanyahu as his forces continue to kill civilians in Gaza.
First, make a huge hue and cry about Israeli dead (few in number thus qualifying as tragedies), then go on to kill hundreds of Palestinians (the more the better as then the deaths will become a mere statistic).
Netanyahu will go on and on about the right to defend his country and how their cause is just, but the fact is this most recent act of barbarity against the Palestinian people goes against all the basic tenets of humanitarian law.
How is the destruction of hospitals and schools a defensive measure?
Not that the Israeli government cares about law. Their continued occupation of the West Bank? Declared unlawful by the United Nations.
Their so called security wall? Declared unlawful by the International Court of Justice. Their continued “settlements” in Palestinian territory? It is again unlawful as it is colonialism in all but name.
And what happens to Israel? Nothing. Everybody knows that the United States will always be there in their corner, no matter if it is a Republican government or a Democratic one.
The European countries, perhaps still plagued by guilt from the second world war and fears of being deemed anti-Semitic (though how opposing a government can be seen as being against a religion is beyond me), will cough and make small sounds of disgruntlement but do nothing. In the meantime, people die.
The hypocrisy of the world, including the Arab world (Egypt is now Israel’s best buddy), has been documented time and again by people like Robert Fisk, Edward Said, John Pilger and Noam Chomsky, and can’t be summarised here. And it is this hypocrisy which feeds and fuels radical groups like Isis, thus it endangers not just the west but everyone in the world.
Israel’s actions and the non-action of the planet’s big powers is not the only atrocity that we face.
There are many others, but it is arguably one of the biggest threats to world security.
For if such blatant disregard for law can be executed and surreptitiously endorsed, then what is to stop others from disregarding law?
For me, this is not a religious matter. It matters not one single bit to me that the Palestinians are mainly Muslim and the Israelis are mainly Jewish.
A wrong is a wrong, regardless of who commits it and who suffers from it. Gaza and the barbarity that is being heaped on it is a humanitarian issue. It is a human rights issue. It is an issue with far reaching consequences for world peace.
Unless and until it is dealt with in that way by all the right thinking people in the world, regardless of their own personal faiths, then it would be difficult to see a way out.
For let there be no mistake, governments aren’t doing anything and they will continue to do nothing, unless the citizens upon whom their power depends, demand they do something.

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