For the first time in the annals of the Harvard University library, students gathered on its hallowed steps not merely as scholars but as compassionate souls bound by a common purpose. With a sense of deep empathy, they carefully etched the names of those who tragically perished in the indiscriminate bombing of the Gaza Strip by Israel onto a long canvas that now bore the weight of their collective memory. They sought to breathe life into the memory of the departed, those whose voices have been silenced by the harsh winds of war. The symbolic tapestry weaves a narrative of shared sorrow and unyielding hope. The students reached across time and space, striving to ensure that the echoes of history do not fade into the recesses of forgetfulness.
Those in the lofty seats of influence may seem detached, but a resilient public across the world continues to echo the call for conscience and humanity. Despite the apparent indifference, the unwavering voice of the people stands as a testament to the enduring power of empathy and the unwavering belief in the triumph of humanity. While the pro-Palestinian voices may seem muted in the face of Israel's bombings, their resilience resonates far beyond the explosions. Families of the hostages and thousands of their supporters undertook a five-day march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem ending Saturday, which culminated in a protest outside Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem. In a powerful display of solidarity, Belgians orchestrated a monumental event ― the European March for Palestinians―spanning a formidable five kilometers and lasting four to five hours.
The doctors at al-Shifa Hospital assert that the relentless assaults on the medical facility amount to nothing short of a deliberate, slow-paced genocide. The yearning for freedom beats just as fervently in the hearts of Palestinians as it does in Israelis. The cry of a newborn is the cry of hope; the cry of life. Yet, these innocent cries have been ruthlessly sniffed out by the bullets of Israeli soldiers. At al-Shifa, 179 poor souls, including these babies whose feeble cries were sniffed out of life, rest in mass graves―a heart-wrenching testament to lives prematurely extinguished.
Both Israel and the US claim that the command node of Hamas is located beneath al-Shifa Hospital. However, there appears to be an underwhelming amount of evidence to support this claim, and this is yet to be verified by any independent international entity. The evidence they put forth is utterly absurd, and asserting that what they presented represents a command center is indeed an affront to intelligence. The biggest hospital al-Shifa, translated from Arabic, means "cure" or "healing" and embodies the sentiment of comforting and caring for those who are unwell, but this has been tragically turned into a virtual graveyard.Top of FormThe World Health Organization has described the al-Shifa Hospital as a 'death zone." Dr Mads Gilbert, the Norwegian physician,said, "I have been working at al-Shifa Hospital for 16 years, on and off. We were threatened twice to leave the hospital – in 2009 and 2014. I have been able to walk freely around; I take lots of pictures and video footage. I have never been restricted or controlled. I challenge Netanyahu to prove it, and if there is a command center, show us." Doctors in Gaza express the toll of witnessing the ceaseless devastation―countless lives shattered, bodies torn, and the haunting images of burnt children, and the emotional weight they bear is extremely overwhelming and taxing.
The relentless onslaught has spared no sanctuary―schools, refugee camps, UN offices, bakeries, hospitals―all engulfed in the tumult. The health situation in Gaza stands completely shattered. A staggering 22 out of 35 hospitals have already shut their doors. A UN official paints an extremely grim picture: premature babies gasping for life as life support systems flicker out, over 2,000 cancer patients teeter on the brink, a thousand grappling with kidney disease, and tens of thousands battling cardiovascular disease and diabetes are on the precipice of despair. Each day, up to 200 women endure childbirth in conditions described as “worst imaginable” conditions, while cases of respiratory and skin infections surge alongside the haunting specter of malnutrition. Acute watery diarrhea tightens its grip on the Gaza Strip, and the air is thick with the nauseating stench of decomposing bodies risking the outbreak of diseases.
The ethnic cleansing unfolding in Palestine, glaringly evident before a weakened global community, is intricately intertwined with the racialized foundations of Zionism. This ideology receives unbridled support from both Europe and the United States alike. The reductive representation of the conflict between only Israel and Hamas aligns justice with the stance of Europe and America.Emile Badarin, a researcher in ME politics and author of Palestinian Political Discourse: Between Exile and Occupation, says, "Ethnic cleansing and genocide are not spontaneous events; they are preceded by deliberate racial branding and spatial and military planning." And, this tragic reality is unfolding in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank at this very moment.
It seems that Europe and America have a deep connivance between them. For optics, they speak of urgency of protecting civilian lives, but clandestinely they are prodding Israel to continue slaughtering ruthlessly to clear the enclave of Palestinians.The Arab-Islamic summit, convened on Nov 11, rejected the justification of the Gaza war as Israeli self-defense. Yet, the Arab countries, notably, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco, Mauritania, and Djibouti blocked a proposal aimed to sever all ties with Israel at the summit. Much like Saudi Arabia aligned with the US during the bombardment of Libya and Iraq, their today's stance also echoes that solidarity. However, this summit becomes a revelation—a stark unmasking of Arab-Islamic nations once viewed as saviors for the Palestinians. The defining moment revealed their true colors. When a proposal emerged to cut all ties with Israel, cease oil supply to nations supporting Israel, and deny the US the use of their air and land, beads of sweat formed on their brows. Their outward support for the Palestinians, seemingly for optics, veiled a reality where their hearts and minds were tethered to Israel. The Arab Sheikhs, who revel in Shakira's dance on Arab soil, have had their true colors exposed. The dance appears to be a deliberate diversion―a calculated move aimed to shift attention from the plight of Palestine, captivating the eyes, and distracting from the real issues that weigh heavily on the hearts of the Arab people.
Securing a ceasefire hinges solely on international pressure, as the prospect of Israel doing so independently remains distant. The unsettling truth is that the roots of this conflict extend far beyond Oct 7, marking a despicable and horrifying chronicle. But this didn't happen then or in a vacuum. Despite decades of dispossession, brutality and violence―be it in Lebanon, the crushing of intifadas, the conflicts of 2004, 2020 or 2016 or the 2018 Great March of Return―and the expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and green lights given to Israel to continue indiscriminate attacks on civilian life, the Palestinian spirit remains unbroken. The fundamental right to self-defense must not be wielded at the expense of another people's right to life and their basic freedoms―rights inherent to every human being on this earth.
The Israeli army declares a 4-hour ‘break’, only to unleash a relentless 20-hour onslaught on civilian infrastructures, including schools and hospitals. What could be a greater hypocrisy than this? Does Israel, responsible for the deaths of as many as 12,000 innocent civilians, retain any right or moral standing to claim it is providing a humanitarian break? The 4-hour pause seems more like a tactical maneuver, affording Israel a breather for strategic recalibration and fortification before intensifying its assault on the Palestinians. In his work The Wretched of the Earth, penned amid the crucible of Algeria's anti-colonial struggle, Franz Fanon, a psychiatrist and influential post-colonial theorist, explores the psychological impact of colonization on the colonized people. In the book, he describes the colony as a world cut in two, a Manichaean world of good and evil. For Fanon, one key reason that decolonization can only be violent is that no matter what tactics the condemned choose, they will always be deemed violent by definition, and met with disproportionate brutality in return. And, recently, the Gaza Strip has become a testimony to this. Noam Chomsky, the most-talked-about personality in the 20th century, argues in his "The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians'' (1983) that the US government's unwavering support for Israel has hindered the possibility of a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, criticizing the US foreign policy for contributing to the plight of the Palestinians. Labor Party politician Gerald Kaufman, a Jew, once said: "Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism. Jewish terrorists hanged two British sergeants and booby-trapped their corpses. Irgun, together with terrorist Stern Gang, massacred 254 Palestinians in 1948 in the village of Deir Yassin.... The boycotting of Hamas, including by our Government has been a culpable error, from which dreadful consequences have followed.
After all, why, in cahoots with the US, does Israel seek to forcefully displace the Palestinians from the enclave? Is it merely a pursuit of "a land without a people for a people without a land"? Netanyahu's brazen act before the UNGA, presenting a map of Israel devoid of any reference to Palestinians prior to October 7, stands as a stark proclamation of the intent to obliterate the Palestinian presence without a trace. What dark motive lurks behind this ominous agenda? It is believed that the northern region of the Gaza Strip possesses well-stocked, untapped gas reserves, estimated at a value of US $ 500 billion, which Israel is extremely eager to exploit for its own interests and those of the western world, notably the US. Why, after all, has Israel, to the extent of committing war crimes, engaged in such an asymmetrical and disproportionate response? Well, this egregious act reveals its dual motives– a manifestation of its expansionist, dehumanizing, and apartheid nature of the Zionist state, and a pursuit of fossil fuels.
The global community has been witnessing, for weeks now, the unrelenting horror of the Zionist state of Israel ruthlessly slaughtering thousands of innocent civilians, including children, all under the guise of self-defense. The unequivocal and brazen support from the US, labeling this war as a mere act of "self-defense" only intensifies the outrage. Despite the initiatives taken on various fronts, the silence continues. It is a shame on the international community, including the Arab community, that shamefully presides over the mass slaughtering of innocent civilians! When is the world going to move beyond words? When will actions speak louder than words? The time for meaningful action is actually long overdue. Dagh Dellvi, born Nawab Mirza Khan, an outstanding Urdu poet of the nineteenth century, wrote a couplet that translates as follows, capturing the essence of unmasking the world community: