I’ve composed a message drawn from the writing and photos about recent violence in Gaza from and by two friends who live there, Ibrahem and Yousef, trapped like their 1.5 million neighbors. We’ve worked and played together periodically over the past 3 years. My composition is inspired by their reflections about Israel pummeling Gaza with horrific devastation and suffering claimed by Israel to be retaliation for the homemade rocket attacks from factions in Gaza.
Ibrahem is on the staff of the American Friends Service Committee, and often engages in risky nonviolent public stands (severely injured last June, I write about him on my blog). Yousef is an excellent photographer, studying the French language, working for the Tamer Institute for Community Education, working with youth of various ages and hopes to someday complete graduate studies in France. I also include links to news accounts for background and an excellent analysis by the Israeli writer, activist, and former Knesset member, the feisty octogenarian Uri Avnery, with whom I’ve stood in witness at several nonviolent demonstrations in Palestine.
The links and attachment will bring you to powerful graphics, excellent photos in my opinion. And the source or at least the pipe is probably Qassam Brigades, understood by much of the world to be a terrorist organization. I believe most of the photos stem from the Israeli attack on a Hamas Ministry of the Interior building a few days ago. You’ll see so called “collateral damage.”
For each death—especially of civilians, especially of innocent children—we can expect at least one future martyr. Is this a wise formula for Israel, with US support, to foster? Is human intelligence reduced to the notion of ten eyes for one eye, a mouthful of teeth for one tooth? A baby for a homemade pipe Qassam rocket? I recall a similar equation used by the Nazis thundering the holocaust against innocent Jews. (And I anticipate some reaction to my comparison: is it not accurate?)
Unending missile and rocket attacks, plus strangulation, plus loss of freedom, plus destruction of the economy, plus a ruined environment—in exchange for occasional damage and injury from the damnable and equally stupid and self-destructive Qassam rocket attacks into civilian Israel?
Let’s recall the words of a contemporary prophet:
Violence as a way of achieving…justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys a community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.—Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
—Skip (weeping, hopeful)
On Sat, Mar 1, 2008 at 7:34 PM, Joseph G. <email@example.com> wrote:
I am writing to you under the Israeli attacks over Gaza-Strip, its has been different since last time you came to Gaza before one month, you know the fact that Gaza changes all the time and you can’t expect from where the sun will shine next day..
Today Israel killed 61 Palestinian in the (Holocaust) operations against Palestinians people. Despite I disagree with the (Pipe rocket) kind of resistance, as I told you before.. But in this exact time and after 3 days full of blood, blood of more than 17 innocent child since this (defended operation) began, I wouldn’t mind to know that this silly rockets still hit the settlements.
Right now there are sounds of Helicopters, F16, military planes flying over KhanYounis, I am trying to imagine what the soldiers are watching from up there, do they recognize the houses, the schools, the streets empty of people and life..? Do they play Tic Tack Too over us to choose the perfect place to bomb…? Do they think that the Palestinians has no families, this person who give the order of lunching a U.S rocket over Palestinian houses, does he think that we have no families, does he remembered his family and imagine the contrary? I don’t think so.
Sounds of ambulances reaches my ears at this moments, perhaps there will be another bombing against citizens who get sleep after hard day.
I don’t know what to say, it’s a very complicated situation. I failed to imagine the fear of settlers from the settlements beside Gaza-Strip and compare it with this massacres, with the sadness and depression of a lonely survived child who weep his family.. are they equal?? What would you do if someone hold you in your bathroom and forbid you to get outside? Wouldn’t you crash the door or try at least to knock it, or asking for help!
It seems very strange but, at this moment, and after the killing of more than 90 Palestinian in 3 days and the whole world watching again. (The sounds of helicopters are very closed now) after this does it make any sense to leave the Israeli air forces do what they want (rocket was lunched, I don’t know where) is it our right to defend ourselves and knock the door at least, or not?
I should go now, turn on the radio and listen to the breaking news to know where was that bombing and how many Palestinians will be added to the list of Israeli new Holocaust.
From Burning Gaza
With love and Peace
On Sun, Mar 2, 2008 at 4:05 PM, skip schiel <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
your words touch my heart. did you see the photos ibrahem is sending around? i’ll forward them to you. may i forward your words to my email list and maybe post them on my blog? they are powerful. “new holocaust” is such an approrpriate title. perfect.
let’s together try to catch the ears of a few more people, more and more, so they know: this is what the israeli and american governments are doing.
not in my name! not with my money! i stand in opposition! i fight for freedom and justice for all people!
thanks and love from the heart of the beast, its growling belly,
Joseph G. <email@example.com>
to skip schiel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
date Sun, Mar 2, 2008 at 9:58 AM
subject The children still playing..
The sun is going to sink in a short time. The sounds of a hidden helicopter still heard from time to another but the children still playing and shouting outside without giving any attention to these terrifying sounds, Strange isn’t !!!
The number of martyrs reaches 98 by now since Wednesday, people are burying the martyrs as quickly as they can because of the fullness of the freezers in hospitals, there’s no time to say goodbye. Even there’s no concrete to build the graves.
You are able to do the best you can, Do what ever it takes with these words.. Catch the ears of a few more people, let the knocked be heard.
Find Please the attached Photo.
Thank You for keeping in Touch. This gives me the strength to keep going. I really appreciate it.
With Love and Peace from the hottest place on the earth
Tamer Inst. For Community Education
Palestine, Gaza- El yarmouk St.- Hamad building
Tell fax : +970 – 8 – 2 843799 , 2 867 559
Email : email@example.com
Jawwal: +970 – 59 – 9 255 246,
– 59 – 9 628 807
On Sun, Mar 2, 2008 at 10:09 AM, skip schiel <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
well, my dear man,
you give me the strength to keep going with my work—you and ibrahem, mosab, amal, husam, adham, belal, dr mohanad, mustafa, issam, iheb, and many others in gaza and the west bank.
the photo of the kids: extraordinary. i’ll include this as well. did you make it, is that you in it, what is the story about it?
love and support and prayers,
On Sun, Mar 2, 2008 at 10:20 AM, Joseph G. <email@example.com> wrote:
I took this photo while we were making an Open-Day for the students of an elementary school in the northern area, one activity of a project am working on it through (Tamer) institute, just a few days before the bombarding began, they were making a performance of a Palestinian Wedding. They were very happy. I don’t know about them any more, perhaps one of these girls could be killed or injured.
This is our life… One day we smile… the next day… we smile also…
Take Good care of yourself
from Ibrahem ElShatali <firstname.lastname@example.org>
to skip schiel <email@example.com>
date Sun, Mar 2, 2008 at 3:18 AM
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: ehab abo sada <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Pleas kindly see the attached photo’s, before that there is very strong picture after the word (strong picture, before the picture for the children) so if don’t want to see it don’t do that? Really I mean that?
Regards, & pleas keep us on your prayers
American Friends Service Committee
Quakers – Palestine Youth Program
Palestine – Gaza Office
The real Holocaust in Gaza
Pictures of a child who was killed in his house in COLD BLOOD by the
Strong Pictures …
Strong Pictures …
Strong Pictures …
Strong Pictures …
Can you tell me NOW who are the TERRORISTS
—ehab abu saada
Small selection attached (of the suffering and one of happy kids made by Yousef)
And here (including US-made F-16 fighter planes and Apache helicopters firing rockets into Gaza)
Translated site, the conduit for the photos (probably the site of Qassam Brigades)
from skip schiel <email@example.com>
to Ibrahem ElShatali <firstname.lastname@example.org>
date Sun, Mar 2, 2008 at 8:53 AM
thank you so so much for sending me these photos. yes, they are strong, and revolting. as i consider how my government aids israel in perpetrating these atrocities my revulsion grows more insistent. i only wish i could find a way to show these to my united states congress people who make some of the decisions about supporting israel.
could you please tell me what the context was for these photos? was it the recent bombing of the ministry of the interior? i read about that and saw photos of a murdered 6 month old baby boy. is this the same story?
thanks and prayers to you and all gazans, and to all who suffer needlessly. may we have the strength and faith to survive and prevail. i wear the scarf you gave me proudly.
(Ibrahem has not responded as of this posting.)
“Israeli missiles silence baby’s laughter in Gaza”
Sami Abu Salem
28 February 2008
The innocent laughter of six-month-old baby Mohammed al-Bor’i stopped forever on Wednesday night when shrapnel from an Israeli missile and rubble struck the infant in the head, minutes after he enjoyed his last meal. “The baby sucked milk, he was playing with his mother; I was reading a book when a rocket hit the Ministry of Interior,” said Nasser al-Bor’i, the baby’s father. Sami Abu Salem reports from Gaza.
“Israeli minister threatens “holocaust” as public demand ceasefire talks”
29 February 2008
Israeli officials began damage limitation efforts after the country’s deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai threatened Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip with a “holocaust.” The comments came a day after Israeli occupation forces killed 31 Palestinians, nine of them children, one a six-month-old baby, in a series of air raids across the Gaza Strip. EI co-founder Ali Abunimah comments.
“Good Morning, Hamas”
2 March 2008
WE ISRAELIS live in a world of ghosts and monsters. We do not conduct a war against living persons and real organizations, but against devils and demons which are out to destroy us. It is a war between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness, between absolute good and absolute evil. That’s how it looks to us, and that’s how it looks to the other side, too.