How long has it been since the Israeli bombardement of Gaza began? Honestly I can’t remember exactly. All I do know is that every night I sit in my house with family around me and I eat my iftari, pray and then wander along to watch the news. The news recently has not ceased to surprise and shock me. My blood runs cold when I watch how families are sat in their houses and are bombed, when children playing on the beach are killed, when a nurse operating in surgery has her arm amputated by shrapnel. All the while the world turns the other way.
In recent days there has been a lot of discussion on social media as well as in the main stream press about individuals who choose to retweet images of the dead/wounded. Many bloggers and members of the press have come out in force to say this is macabre, indeed it is, furthermore they have gone on to say that nothing is to be achieved by doing this. This is where I firmly disagree. Before turning away please let me explain.
In the age before social media, news about what happened in Palestine or indeed anywhere was limited to the main stream media. If a story was not in the public interest, or was not ‘interesting’ enough to make the news it simply did not make the news. Lots of stories don’t make the news, we just don’t know about them. If it weren’t for social media I, for one, would not know that there have been demonstrations in nearly every European capital against the bombardment of Gaza and yet in the UK we can see Gaza sliding down the news agenda. Public noise via demonstrations have been downplayed. The fact is we, muslims, are over 1.6 billion in the world and yet the world cannot hear us.
War is horrible. It is dispicable. No one should have to witness war. Our lives would be so much easier if we did not know about what goes on in war zones. Or without seeing those four little boys playing on the beach, seeing them so full of life and then them being gone the next? Would you feel more comfortable not seeing a tiny bundle not wrapped in a white blanket but in the white funeral cloth? It is not easy to see. It is not easy to retweet but the world needs to know what is happening in Palestine and in other forgotten non high profile war zones. Retweeting creates a hashtag, a noise that becomes hard for main stream media to ignore. Retweeting enables people who are surrounded by destruction and death to do something. They are telling the world their story. Unedited.
900 children (according to UNICEF 22/07/2014) have been injured in Gaza since the latest Israeli operation began. How many of those injuries will be life changing? How many of those children know where they will sleep tonight? How many will have their parents to snuggle into? How many of those children get to choose what they have for dinner? A handful, if they are lucky. We may not be their parents, we may have our own babies sleeping in our beds or children snuggling into us but we all owe it to the Palestinian parents who are no longer here to share their story, to show the world what attrocities are being carried out in the name of legitimate defence. We must not allow the world to ignore the forgotten.
I pray with all my heart and soul that this is the last time the Palestinians have to endure such pain and suffering; that they will be free; that they cease to be opressed; that the world wakes up and stops their suffering Ameen.