Monday, January 19, 2009

Gaza Doctor's Nightmare -- daughters killed at home by Israeli tank shell

I woke up this morning and began surfing the Net. I checked my email. I checked some blogs. And then I checked the news and saw this . . .

Gaza doctor's loss grips Israelis

. . . .

In the middle of the recent conflict, I interviewed Dr Abuelaish for the BBC World Service's Outlook programme.

He told me all the glass had been blown out of the windows of his house, he could hear firing and explosions all around and he was desperately worried for the safety of his children.

Then on Friday afternoon, just a day before the ceasefire was announced, his worst nightmare came true.

"My daughters were just sitting quietly talking in their bedroom at home," Dr Izeldeen Abuelaish told me on the phone between sobs.

"I had just left the room, carrying my youngest son on my shoulders. Then a shell came through the wall.

Demolished building in Jabaliya Camp, Gaza
Jabaliya Camp was hit repeatedly by Israeli strikes
"I rushed back to find their dead bodies - or rather parts of their bodies - strewn all over the room. One was still sitting in a chair but she had no legs.

"Tell me why did they have to die? Who gave the order to fire on my house?"

In a voice cracked with emotion, he added: "You know me, Lucy. You have been to my house, my hospital; you have seen my Israeli patients.

"I have tried so hard to bring people on both sides together and just look what I get in return."

The victims were Bisan, aged 20, Mayar, 15, Aya aged 13 and the physician's 17-year-old niece Nur Abuelaish.

"My eldest daughter was five months away from finishing her degree in business and financial management. She was looking forward to the future and I was so proud of her."

. . .

I'm so sad for Dr Abuelaish right now I can't begin to express what I'm feeling. I also feel what the Dalai Lama calls "righteous anger" for the loss of this Dr Abuelaish's children, and the outrageous violations of international law and human rights that Israel has committed with the American government's approval.

The military's response was this,

A spokeswoman for the Israeli military said the incident is now under investigation.

"For the time being, all that I can tell you is that our troops fired on the house because they had come under attack from somewhere in the vicinity of the house. Possibly a sniper but I can't confirm that," the spokeswoman said.

Speaking from the hospital, Dr Abuelaish denied that any militants had been hiding in or firing from his house.

"Violence is never the right way. My daughters and I were armed with nothing but love and hope."

I hope that Obama's presidency forces Israel to face some hard truths, and that the people responsible for killing Dr Abuelaish's children are brought to justice.



Les said...

Where is the outrage against the Palestinians who drove Israel to take this desperate action, even though they knew the world would condemn them? It is a tragedy what happened to this doctor's family, as it is when any innocents are killed. But the Palestininans and their Arab allies have demonstrated no desire for a peaceful co-existence with Israel, and, as a people, they have brought this upon themselves.

Jason said...

Too many nations use subjective/biased historical context to construct an innocent-guilty dichotomy, wherein justification for breaking international laws and violating human rights is produced.

Historical narratives used to dehumanize people in order to justify violence is a crime against humanity that happens far too often.

Change Israel to Iran, and Palestine to an American ally country, and there would be no rationalization of attempted genocide as pre-emptive self-defense. There is more at work here than there should be.

MOTIVATIONS and HISTORY are not JUSTIFIABLE reasons to attempt genocide as self-defense against a group of human beings.

My point still stands that if you remove the names of the nations and wrote a different kind of short story about this horrific conflict, and then presented it to a group of people for discussion . . . I believe that most of the people would condemn BOTH parties for their violence. The 'fog of history' as an instrument of dehumanization needs to be dissipated in order for the bloody carnage to become visible and the rhetoric to stop trying to create distance and desensitize us from seeing the horrific trauma that is taking place.

Are Palestinians "freedom fighters" or "terrorists"? Or are they both? Is it that black and white? There are many historical examples of people using violence for political means against larger nations . . .

Violence should generally not be contextualized--too often it leads to producing an ethical carte blanche for the attackers, and condemnation for the 'guilty' people who have been dehumanized with terms like 'terrorists,' 'savages,' 'animals,' and all of the other labels used to remove a sense of humanity from the wounded and dead children/families/people.

"as a people" is a sad example of what I'm trying to point out here. You erase everything that specific individuals and groups of people in Israel have chosen to do in order to paint a rhetorical picture of ethical superiority while at the same time you take several countries worth of Arab people and lump them all into an objectified faceless mob wherein they are defined as violent, uncivilized, and guilty . . .

I'll let wiser voices than my own finish my point here.

Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.

Mahatma Gandhi

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Martin Luther King Jr

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?

Mahatma Gandhi

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

Mahatma Gandh

It is essential to know that to be a happy person, a happy family, a happy society, it is very crucial to have a good heart, that is very crucial. World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just the absence of violence but the manifestation of human compassion.

Dalai Lama

The West did not come to rule the world through its superiority of religion or ideas, but rather through its superior application of organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.

Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash Of Civilizations And The Making Of The New World Order