Silence In The Face Of Evil, Is Itself Evil
This is not an easy piece to write. I am so aware of how anything written about Middle East politics immediately gets judged and readers have made up their minds before they even start the article. Here’s the thing though. I didn’t always look at things the way I do now. I too believed that the Israeli army had every right to defend itself. I am ashamed to admit that I too had somehow been socialised (brainwashed) to believe that what happened to the Palestinians was somehow different to what happened to anyone else. I didn’t even realise it, and this is hard to admit, but they were somehow ‘lesser’ as a human being. They were the “other” and their pain didn’t register in my psyche. Just writing those words are hard because it’s a truth that I have only come to see in the past few years as the layers of my own ignorance have slowly but surely been peeled away.
I wish I didn’t have to write this blog. I wish there was someone else who would. I know I will be sent messages by friends and family rebuking me for taking my views into a public forum. Sadly though this message is not being spread far and wide by anyone else. For some mysterious reason there seems to be an invisible barrier when it comes to Palestinian rights and shining a light on their humanity. The images we do see are ones where they are either being violent (or are perceived to be violent) or in the context of them being Hamas supporters. Photos depicting them as who they really are, mothers, fathers, children and anything else where we see them as ‘one of us’ don’t make the press.
Right now in Gaza a massacre is happening. Unarmed civilians are being slaughtered. A people group that has been persecuted and denied basic human rights for decades are being directly shot at as they rally together. Rallying is something so many of us do. If it’s not for Aboriginal rights, it’s for gay marriage, or to show support for refugees, or women, or any other cause that we feel passionate about and want to see a change take place from our leaders. It’s legal and it’s a right that we have. Strangely this right is not extended to our Palestinian friends. When they rally they are seen as a threat. It’s as simple as that.
Last Saturday I went along to a rally in support of the people of Gaza. I held up my heart shaped signs that said “Ashamed to be Israeli” and “No More Apartheid”… cause let’s be honest and admit that’s exactly what it is. I had so many lovely interactions with people I’ve never met. So much gratitude. Women asking to pose with me for a photo. A young man crying and thanking me, saying he is here as a student from Palestine and was so touched to see my signs in the march that he just stumbled across while waiting for a tram.
I don’t have an answer for the Middle East. I don’t want to get into the politics of the evil circus it has become. What I do want to focus on is shining a light on the Palestinians as a beautiful people group that have survived trauma after trauma and deserve freedom. Deserve a voice. And most of all..they deserve a home. For whatever reason most of us have a perception that is blinding us from the truth. We might not be able to change what is happening in the Middle East, but we can change our perception and observe our own role in what is taking place. By just looking the other way we are just as bad as those pulling the trigger.
For a better understanding this is a great website https://972mag.com/