Gaza: Disgust and dismay
It’s important not to close your eyes against the terrible images of a burnt Palestinian baby, or dead woman.
I am dismayed and disgusted by the biased, one-sided reporting about the Israeli strike in Gaza; the mainstream media is making it out as if Gaza has instigated the violence when the truth is that Israel provoked the Gazans all through the month of October, killed a mentally disabled man, shot a young boy while he was playing soccer, and finally assassinated a Hamas leader who they had entrusted with the impossible task of maintaining the truce, all the while continuing its inhuman blockade of the occupied territories without remorse, continuing to build illegal settlements, continuing to force Palestinians to live under apartheid conditions, continuing to destroy Palestinian farmers' lands and crops.
For an excellent analysis of how Israel shattered the truce in Gaza, go here. I recommend the web site Electronic Intifada for the ‘other’ side of the story, the one you won’t see in mainstream media. Even the BBC, whose Arab employee lost his infant son in a Gaza rocket strike, won’t tell you what you’ll find here.
For people who ask, “But what can we do?” about the conditions in Palestine, especially when you are far away and have no real connection to that country, I would say that you could donate money to the Red Cross or to other organisations dedicated to helping alleviate some of the terrible conditions in which Palestinians live. You can make du'aa, or pray for the people of Palestine, and hold them in your heart for a short while each day, while thinking about their lives.
Muharram, which has started today, is an excellent time for this, as we start the Muslim New Year (but let's not forget our Christian Palestinian brothers and sisters either) and commemorate how Hussein (RA) , grandson of the Prophet (pbuh) led a doomed band of warriors to help the people of Kufa rise up against Yazid, and was subsequently martyred.
The people of Palestine are martyred every day by this modern-day Yazid.
And finally, you can witness what they go through. Witnessing is an important concept in Islam; we recite the Shahadat as testament of our faith and belief in God and his last Prophet (pbuh); we witness in our prayers every day that there is only one God; we are asked to witness signs of God’s existence all around us; we are asked to read the Quran and continuously witness the history and origins of our faith, our people, and our own beginnings. In Islam, we are asked to recognise God’s unity, seek divine guidance, and use our reason to do so.
Similarly, it is our responsibility to witness the evil that humans perpetrate on the earth, in order that we may know the difference between good and evil, justice and injustice. Only then can we prepare ourselves to overthrow an unjust government or make changes in our society for the improvement and benefit of all citizens. If all of us outside Palestine witness what goes on there every day, we are able to provide testimony against the unjust government of Israel, and to lend our global support to the Palestinians’ fight against occupation.
It’s important not to close your eyes against the terrible images of a burned baby, or a dead woman, or a mortally wounded child. It’s important to look at the faces of Palestinians whose olive trees have been chopped down, whose houses have been taken over by Israeli soldiers, whose children must face the barrel of a gun as they walk to school every day.
It’s important to read about what's going on there, as written by Palestinians themselves, not a biased, corrupt media. In this way, we witness what happens when a society strays far from the principles of justice and peace and equality for all. It’s our duty, our responsibility to bear witness so that when we are asked what we did to help, we can at least open our mouths and say, I did not look away while they were suffering.
It’s the least we can do, but it counts for a great deal.
This post originally appeared here
Read more by Bina here or follow her on Twitter @BinaShah