Thursday, January 29, 2009,12:23 am
A Letter to the IDF
Dear IDF,

I want to see you call this a case of human shields. I definitely don't have the imagination for it.

Investigations are pending*, but on January 5th, 2009, IDF soldiers shelled a house in Gaza City, killing 30 people. That's not an unusual occurrence; in the course of this brief conflict, over 770 Palestinians have been killed, a third of them children. Every time I check the news, the death toll seems to have jumped by another hundred human souls. But the house they shelled this time was not an ordinary house. It was different from the countless abodes the IDF has inexcusably bulldozed since its inception, or fired into in recent days with allegations of hidden weaponry.

According to the UN and the Red Cross, witnesses say that this is a house where civilians were actually sent BY the IDF for the purpose of seeking shelter. Every time any organization has questioned the IDF thus far regarding the unthinkable death toll in Gaza (including the 250% rise in child deaths since the ground offensive began), it's been the same bland story: Hamas was using them as human shields, blame it on Hamas. I'm not even going to get into how absurd and hypocritical that assertion is. I'm not even going to get into how stupid you have to be to think that you can fire into one of the world's most densely populated regions- barely twice the size of Washington D.C.- where 1.5 million people are stuffed into a cradle of poverty and desolation because YOU walled them up there- and not expect that you might end up with some civilian casulaties on your hands that are in fact YOUR fault, especially when you allow no resources for shelters to protect those civilians from your attacks, nor ample medical care to treat them in the aftermath. And if I don't run out of imagination, I'm going to pretend that in 2005, when the Israeli supreme court passed a ruling banning the use of civilian shields, the IDF didn't object and argue for the right to maintain practices which involved sending innocent Palestinian civilians, often children, to negotiate with or demand a surrender from suspected militants. I'll even pretend that some of those 'shields' weren't harmed or killed in the process.

But what I cannot deceive myself about is the fact that for FOUR days after the Jan. 5th incident, the IDF prevented Red Cross ambulances from coming through to help the 100+ victims of the shelling, that it stood by and allowed dozens of those innocent people to die. What I cannot dismiss with my imagination is the knowledge that not only is it Palestinian civilians who are being murdered and maimed left and right, but even the international aid organizations that are trying to help them; so much so that Gaza-area UN, Red Cross, and other humanitarian workers are actually halting their operations for security reasons after being shot at by IDF soldiers.

I cannot pretend, and every reasonable human being with any degree of respect for the sanctity of life cannot pretend, that there is any rationalization that can justify 257 CHILDREN being killed in a conflict in which the other side has a showing of 14 total casualties.

The Jan. 5th reports are not yet confirmed and the IDF's guilt in the situation remains unclear to 'objective investigators'. The IDF, of course, has flatly denied the allegations. If the endurance of this conflict hadn't already rendered me pretty cynical, I might be praying right now that the situation has not gotten so bad that the IDF can seriously get away with firing into a self-designated shelter full of innocent people, killing 30 of them, without the global community being up in arms beyond the typical empty condemnations- but I know that it has gotten away with much worse... I would pray that there's an explanation for this that will not lead me to believe that this is turning into another easy genocide the world will look away from and only have the courage to bemoan ages after the fact... but it's already getting there, and only our objections can steer history in a different direction.

"He died hungry," said Masouda al-Samouni as she spoke of her infant child, a victim of the Jan. 5 shelling. This was the same lament of Lady Rubab (sa), the wife of Imam Hussain (as), as she wept 1400 years ago for Ali Asghar: her 6-month old child who the enemy forces murdered as he withered from thirst and hunger. As commemorators of that tragedy, it is incumbent upon us and Muslims worldwide to oppose the brutalities in what Syed Nasrallah has called 'the Karbala of today.'

Therefore, I am praying for an end to the silence, to the tearless eyes, to the apathy.

I am praying for the child who asked his mother: “Mama – why don't the Israeli soldiers think before they shoot people?”

To that little boy, and to every oppressed soul in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere, I have this to say:
'Labbaik. I am here. The IDF's fascist restrictions might be keeping foreign journalists as far from reporting on its brutalities as possible, but we- the ordinary peace-lovers of the world, those of us who regard your right to life as precious as our own- hear you, and we will make sure that your cries do not go unheard by the world at large.'

written by Rubab
posted by Ya_Baqiyatullah
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Thursday, January 15, 2009,11:00 pm
My Youtube Channel. . .
posted by Ya_Baqiyatullah
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Saturday, January 03, 2009,3:31 am
As the World Burns

Today, as we live and breathe and carry on with our lives, 450 people and counting lie dead from one of the worst direct Israeli attacks ever perpetrated against the Palestinian people.

As we sign on to news sites and tune in to the latest broadcasts, in the pursuit of the guilty we are invariably met with mentions of beginnings and firsts, as is the custom whenever a conflict occurs. We see it in children- "she started it!"- and we see it in politics, especially from the current mouthpieces at the White House. We see journalists raving about how the *beginning* of the current conflict was the incessant launching of rockets into Israel by Hamas, how that was the *first* breach of the peacefire and thus justified Israel's atrocious response. If I had the patience to play it their way, I might inquire about the *beginning* of the viral poverty that has driven 1 in 2 of the Gaza Strip's 1.5 million inhabitants below the poverty line. I might then inquire about what *begins* to happen to the psychology of an oppressed people as they are forced to watch their loved ones perish for lack of food, sanitation, and medical care, and then wonder how the deprivation of these most essential needs could possibly never have crossed anyone's mind as the *first* violation of a supposed peace.

In light of my personal political views, if you want to get right down to it, this cannot be a question of who threw the first stone because stones and physical weaponries are not the only, or the worst, mediums of warfare. It should be a question of who made the man so desperate and hungry and so deprived of every essential human necessity that he was driven to throw it... of who walled up 1.5 million human beings Warsaw Ghetto-style and refused to even allow food from international aid organizations to be distributed to the 1 in 2 human beings living in abject poverty, and how such circumstances could have ever been considered meeting the conditions of a 'PEACEfire'. I don't know any human being whose idea of peace constitutes watching your children teeter on the brink of starvation or living in deplorable filth and unchecked sewage that fosters the spread of communicable diseases for the prevention of which no medical resources exist or are allowed in.

I began this piece talking about the media and general public's fascination with beginnings. So I know that even though the aforementioned conditions in Gaza will sound absolutely horrendous and deplorable to all who read about them, there are still going to be those hesitant to shed a sympathetic tear or call into question the brutal forces that allowed these atrocities to persist. Because there will be people wondering- whether subconsciously or blatantly- what the Palestinians must have done *first* in order to garner such inhumane treatment as the harsh blockade, because surely, were it undeserved, it would not be happening.

So I'll address that question. What malicious crime did the Palestinians commit?
Well they had the glaring audacity to uh... exercise their democratic right to vote.
They had the guts to choose the people they knew would stave off the corruption that consumed their opposition, who would refuse to barter the interests of the Palestinian people. But in the eyes of Israel and the United States, who actually gave weapons and money to Hamas's opposition to keep the *democratically-elected* group out of power and murder its key leaders, they made the wrong choice.

As I conclude, I am not saying that this objectively justifies Hamas's rocket attacks so finitely that I expect any rational being who doesn't have my political and humanistic biases to agree on. But I would most definitely expect any rational being to be appalled at 400+ deaths in repayment for fewer than five.

Right now, as I pray with millions of peace-loving human beings around the world for an end to the unimaginable suffering in the Gaza Strip, I want to remind people that at this moment, this isn't primarily an issue of politics, of whose land is what, of who started it all, or who's been right all along, this is an issue of an unjustifiably disproportionate military response leading to the slaughter of over 400 human beings- at least a fourth of them civilians, over 50 of them children, and more wounded than all the area's hospitals can even begin to accommodate. It's an issue of a four year old child whose playtime in his home's courtyard turned in to the hour of his death, of a mother beholding the corpses of her five dead daughters.

So as the world burns, won't you weep a few tears and douse the flames?
posted by R
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