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     Volume 8 Issue 52 | January 9, 2009 |

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Writing the Wrong

Silence is Not Golden

Sharbari Ahmed

I hope everyone had a good New Year's Eve. I did. It was a standard one really. I danced poorly, sang karaoke (off key, but with zest) and rang in the New Year with no incident or anxiety. But for many 2009 started with a bang, or in the case of the Gaza strip, it started with a barrage of bangs prior to December 31st generously provided by their neighbour Israel. And the world is standing by and watching like one would a fourth of July fireworks display over the statue of liberty. As usual.

As I write this it is 7 am in Gaza. Israel has just mounted a ground offensive in the north of Palestinian territories, while continuing an aerial bombardment that has claimed nearly five hundred lives already, many of them children. This is war, though most Western countries are refusing to call it that. What happened to the days when the headlines just called it like it was? If this was 1939, the headlines would be: ISRAEL DECLARES WAR ON A STRIP OF LAND THAT IS PRACTICALLY A REFUGEE CAMP. WITH THE HELP OF THE UNITED STATES.

Palestinian and foreign activists hold a candle light vigil in the West Bank city of Ramallah to show solidarity with the people of Gaza. The death toll from Israel's massive bombing of Hamas targets in Gaza has reached 400 and nearly 2,000 people have been wounded.

Naturally, the UN Security Council has once again failed to create a resolution condemning this overt act of war. This, for me, begs the question; when is this impotent, obsolete body that is held hostage by the US and her personal captor, AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), going to be told to take a hike? I guess they would need to draft a UN Security Council to take a hike, please document and that would take too long. By the way, it occurs to me that the US congress suffers from Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to AIPAC .They have fallen in love with their kidnappers, and indeed have grown emotionally dependent on them. For those of you who do not know what AIPAC is, it is the most powerful lobby in the US. It is Jewish, organised, cash rich and completely aware of how to emotionally blackmail the American people. AIPAC is the arbiter of US Middle Eastern policy, and make no mistake, they have every intention of seeing the Palestinians driven into the Dead Sea (the Jordanian part). Hitler, Roosevelt, and the apathy of the world during WWII created the necessity for AIPAC. Remember the US did not engage in WWII until they were bombed by the Japanese and indeed, Roosevelt, much to the horror of his wife and Jewish Americans, sent back scores of Jewish refugees, who had escaped by the skin of their teeth to certain death in places like Auschwitz and Birkenau because the US' official position was that this was not our war.

Thusly, fueled by guilt and fear of the seemingly omnipotent Jewish PR machinery, no one has the stones to tell Israel that they are attempting to shoot a mouse with an M-16. Sarkozy, the hawkish, super model coveting, anti-Arab President of France, is ironically, the only one of two Western leaders to unequivocally condemn Israel's war on the Gazans. The other is the Spanish Foreign Minister. They see clearly it is, in every way, utterly unacceptable. It is also a blatant flouting of that quaint set of laws set during The Geneva Convention that were, so ironically, set up after WWII in response to the atrocities committed during that “offensive”.

But besides the human rights crisis that is about to erupt for an already beleaguered people what is making my heart sore and frankly, extremely concerned, is that the only Barack saying anything about the situation is Ehud (Barak), the Israeli Defense Minister. He has made it clear that this is not going to be short or easy.

My President-to-be has been completely silent, except for a few inane mutterings about stone throwing in his backyard. So Mr. President, if my nine-year-old son chucks some pebbles into the White House Rose Garden, the logical course of action would be to blow him up? Perhaps the bloodied, battered body of a Palestinian boy who looked to be about six years old lying on the cold tiled floor of a hospital would move him to make a statement. Or perhaps the image of another boy, who, with gritted teeth bears a tube being inserted in his side to drain the blood that is slowly seeping into lungs would help release that (Zionist) cat that has got your tongue?

I understand that Obama's position is a tenuous one and we all knew that the outgoing administration was not going to allow the great black hope to shimmy into the White House on January 20 with aplomb and generosity. They have made sure to line the path to the Oval Office with land mines and potentially deadly PR booby traps. I know he has to bide his time, weigh the situation, mull it over and watch. He knew--he must have known that something like this was going to happen. Israel has purportedly been planning this “offensive”, their fancy word for genocide, for six months. They have been preparing for this carefully and are even talking about a third phase of this war that would mean calling up thousands of reservists.

Hamas did fire rockets into Israel. They have taken innocent lives, they have killed children, they have compromised the security of the Israeli people, there is no denying that. This is not a one sided engagement. And the constant street punk bickering between Fateh and Hamas only undermines their position in such a way that the world has been hard pressed to see the Palestinian point of view. The Palestinians are not as sophisticated, not as cohesive, not as calculating as their enemy. They still have not learned how to use the media to curry favour. They are, in fact, the diametric opposite of our man Obama and the likes of Rahm Emanuel, two people, I know that the Arab world has no confidence in right now. However, despite all the obvious and serious flaws in their leadership, Palestinian civilians do not deserve to be blown to kingdom come. It is their land, after all, that has been illegally occupied for several decades and their livelihood, their dignity, their very right to live, that has been systematically dismantled and or destroyed. Israel's response is a disproportionate one and Obama knows it. The Israelis figured out quickly that they needed to get some effective killing in before the new guy gets into office, but this American citizen, at least, is not convinced that the new guy would have done anything differently than what is being done now, which is essentially defending Israel's genocidal agenda.

A picture taken from the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip shows a bomb dropped by an Israeli air force F-16 jet exploding in Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip.

Obama needs to tread carefully, but there needs to be some actual movement on his part. He knows how to deliver a line. He is not, unlike his new buddy, Hilary, a polarizing force. He can fashion, spin, magically manifest, whatever, a statement that would appease everyone. I personally need to hear his voice on this matter, even a lukewarm one that at least attempts to see the other side. So right now, Barack and me, we are not in a good place. And I plan on calling the White House to let him and Rahm know that.

Photos: AFP

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