Lessons from Gaza

Our humanity hangs in the balance as long as the Palestinians' claim to freedom and dignity remains a distant dream

DR WONG SOAK KOON/ALIRAN

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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, innocent mothers, fathers and the elderly being bombed to smithereens and 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, the Irish, the British, the French, anti-Zionist Jews, Moroccans, Jordanians, Indonesians and Malaysians demanding an immediate ceasefire and the 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 does 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 resolve the conflict.

To drive these leaders’ 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.

READ MORE:  Aliran annual meeting unanimously calls for lasting ceasefire in Gaza

A fair amount of censorship is also 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 have all along prided themselves as guardians of free speech, human rights and democracy. Such a claim increasingly rings hollow now.

The lackadaisical attitude towards 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 batting 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 does not earn the wrath of the Western leaders.

Another question that pops out: would such raw racism help ease the world when watching the mayhem in Gaza as if they are watching an action-packed Hollywood thriller with no emotion?

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

Similarly, critics wonder why Arab and Muslim leaders failed to reach a clear and united decision to impose concrete measures, such as trade sanctions on or the severance of diplomatic ties with 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 as long as their claim to freedom and dignity remains a distant dream. – The Malaysian Insight

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.
AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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Dr Mustafa K Anuar, a longtime executive committee member and former honorary secretary of Aliran, is, co-editor of our newsletter. He obtained his PhD from City, University of London and is particularly interested in press freedom and freedom of expression issues. These days, he is a a senior journalist with an online media portal
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