Lessons from Gaza

Mustafa K. Anuar

The continuous Israeli attack on Palestinians in Gaza shows that many of the world’s institutions, particularly the United Nations, have been rendered toothless to stop bloodshed and promote peace. – AFP pic, November 16, 2023.

Commentary by Mustafa K. Anuar

THE relentless Israeli genocidal attack on Palestinians in Gaza throws into sharp relief human and institutional flaws, human rights violations and last but not least, hypocrisy.

This reality is perhaps too obvious to many ordinary people, but it appears to have eluded others, especially state actors, whose hearts seem to have been darkened or blemished by vested interests and raw racism.

The sight of babies and innocent mothers and fathers as well as the elderly being bombed into smithereens and the orphaned children crying out for their parents has been so heart-wrenching for ordinary people the world over that it moved them to participate in peaceful demonstrations to express solidarity with the oppressed Palestinians.

Hence, it has become a common sight to see ordinary Americans, Australians, Italians, Irish people, the British, the French, anti-Zionist Jews, Moroccans, Jordanians, Indonesians and Malaysians, to name a few, to demand for an immediate ceasefire and eventual decolonisation of Palestine. They have also boycotted Israel-linked brands.

In contrast, Western leaders and certain quarters have not been deeply disturbed by the plight of the Palestinians as if they are bereft of humanity. The fact that bombs are raining down on Palestinian civilians regularly did not seem to bother their conscience, if any.

Western leaders, such as US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, are adamant that a ceasefire is not an option for now because they prioritise Israel’s “right to self-defence”. It is a cold irony that handsome financial aid and arms to Israel are seen as a means to resolving the conflict.

To drive their point home, street protests in solidarity with the Palestinians have been banned, although people did defy such a ban knowing full well there are risks involved.

Additionally, there is a fair amount of censorship being imposed by social media platforms on narratives critical of Israel. But the critical influencers soldier on.

Mind you, this is happening in countries that all along have prided themselves as guardians of free speech, human rights and democracy. Obviously, such a claim increasingly rings hollow now.

The lackadaisical attitude towards the Palestinian suffering begs the question, are Palestinians to be really treated like human animals, as suggested by certain Israeli politicians, so that their dehumanisation and massacre can be considered as kosher and be committed without the blink of an eye?

Incidentally, there are Israelis who even argued that to equate the Palestinians to animals would be an insult to the animals.

Such is the extent of the warped and barbaric view that does not recognise all human beings as equal, which predictably doesn’t earn the wrath of the Western leaders.

Another question that pops out: would such raw racism help ease the world in general to watch the mayhem in Gaza as if one could watch an action-packed Hollywood thriller without any emotion?

The Gaza carnage also suggests that many of the world’s institutions, particularly the United Nations, have been rendered ineffective in stopping bloodshed and promoting peace.

Similarly, critics wondered why Arab and Muslim leaders have failed to reach a clear and united decision to impose concrete measures, such as trade sanctions or severance of diplomatic ties, against Israel. We have passed the phase of issuing angry-sounding statements, especially when Palestinian blood is still being shed.

The Palestinian plight also tells us that our humanity hangs in the balance for as long as their claim to freedom and dignity is still a distant dream. – November 16, 2023.

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