Nothing helped the hospital staff in relieving the baby of his pain. He was crying; his cheeks flushed red, and his little hands moving in the air as if looking for someone to hold and caress them. In no time, Abu Suhaib Al Hadidi reached the medical facility and was told that a son of his had survived the horrendous attack that had made headlines in newspapers around the globe. He looked at his five-month-old son’s face, kissed his forehead, wiped his tears and held his hands. The baby, however, did not stop crying. Found alive from the rubble lying next to his dead mother, he was still looking for her gentle touch that was his only source of relief in this doomed world. None of us can imagine that little human’s pain until we see our own children’s faces in him.
The most unfortunate part of the whole dilemma is that such stories can be found in abundance in the years that have passed and will continue to surface in the future until this continuous apartheid is brought to a halt. It is not only Eid 2021 that has been destroyed for hundreds of families; these attacks and assaults intensify multifold in Ramazan for several years. Yet, the shell of insensitivity that is seemingly encapsulating the global human population is intact and only gives the impression of shedding off a few layers every now and then by giving coverage to these attacks — most of it being biased and partial.
This ‘highly focused’ coverage is to serve the purpose of bringing awareness among the masses as is claimed by media houses and people. But how much more awareness do we need to acquire to actually stand up for these fellow humans who have been deprived of their fundamental rights such as the right to live; the right to give their children a happy and secure future; the right to be with their infants and give them the protection every child deserves?
With our constant apathy and ignorance towards this incessant suffering of Palestinians, it is sadly quite evident that we hold these pieces of news solely as any other news — as a material to view, think about for a few moments, then scroll down to gain ‘awareness’ on other issues. Because had it been any different from others, it would have been a top priority for all and would have been considered as a subject of global crisis. For now, the video clips and pictures have flooded our news feeds, but what will make it a priority is whether we let it remain in our news feed until the final blow or forget about it once the intensity in the attacks reduces.
The wailing and tears of that five-month-old baby are asking us to imagine our children in his place for a brief moment. We all tend to shudder and spurn such thoughts as if it is our and our children’s due right to live. We all may be silent today, but that baby’s wailing, who lost his mother and older siblings in a single attack, will follow us either to our graves or till we decide to play our part.
We all are accountable for our actions and those include whether we remain silent during these testing times or do whatever is in our capacity to help the subjects of this apartheid. The Final Day is for the oppressed. We might be shown Um Suhaib embracing her last-born after an interval spanning over a lifetime, but what about us who remained silent and watched her son and thousands of other children craving for their parents’ love and affection in this world? Today, if we fail to make his wailing our call to act then we should all sleep at night with this certainty that humanity is doomed forever.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2021.