One year ago today

matthew cassel
image: matthew cassel

I took this image of a boy running on top of the downed-Israeli built wall on the Gaza-Egypt border. Palestinian groups in Gaza blew up the wall to allow hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza to cross into the Egyptian northern Sinai and purchase much needed goods long denied to them by the Israeli siege.

Gaza boy

This is a boy speaking on Al Jazeera Arabic. He looks about 6 or 7 years old and he speaks like an adult. He reminds me of the kids in Balata refugee camp in the West Bank where I used to live. I was shocked by kids this age who I met and spoke to. I would have serious conversations with them about a variety of issues. It was quite incredible, and quite disturbing how they are robbed of their childhood.

Here is my extremely rough and definitely not 100% accurate translation of much of what the boy says, I know it’s at least 90% accurate. If anyone would like to correct me please feel free.

I want to say, look at us, look at how we’re living here as if we’ve been tossed out. We don’t go play, we don’t laugh, we don’t study, we don’t watch children’s programs, we just turn on the TV and see [the violence] and the shooting and the war tanks.

We here dont have food, water, anything to drink, nothing here. We are tossed out like the beggars. Look at the people [on the other side] how they play and laugh [and live]. We under siege, it’s been about 2 years of siege on us, we dont eat we dont drink, they dont give us anything. They dont open the border crossing to allow in food and other things [for us].

Israel attacks UN school in Gaza

The below images were taken by an AFP photographer in Gaza. On 17 January Israel bombed a UN school where 1,600 Palestinians in Gaza were seeking refuge, killing at least a few young children. Israel likes to brag about its “pinpoint technology” that they use to minimize civilian casualties. So, if they had the GPS coordinates for this UN school like they have for all UN facilities in Gaza, why did they bomb this school? And how come nobody with power is saying anything. Ban Ki-moon is “outraged,” ok… so, what you gonna do about it?

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1,300 killed, for what?

1,300 Palestinians were just slaughtered by one of the best armies in the world, and what did they have to defend themselves? Some homemade rockets and M-16 machine guns? US-made Apache helicopters can just hover over Gaza firing on targets without any chance of being brought down.

For every one Israeli killed, more than 100 Palestinians were slaughtered. Of the 13 Israeli deaths, 10 were soldiers. Of the 1,300 Palestinian deaths, at least one-third were children.

ATTENTION: THE BELOW VIDEO IS GRAPHIC. I think it is important to see, as it include images of the dead and injured in Gaza, including many children. It was put together by a friend in Chicago who posted it on Facebook:

The last scene is of a doctor in Gaza who works in Israel calling an Israeli TV station describing the killing of his daughters.

Intersections in DC

Two different worlds:

CNN: With still two days before Obama’s¬†inauguration, CNN is showing video from cameras posted at a number of intersections in Washington, DC, to show how many people are already arriving to witness the “historical event.” About 20 people are shown crossing each intersection.¬†

Al Jazeera: Palestinians in Gaza, finally allowed to get to certain areas that had been closed off by the occupying Israeli army, found over 100 bodies buried beneath the rubble. Al Jazeera is showing images of the dead bodies being unearthed from under the rubble.

Right now

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Gaza is still under attack. Even with the UN Secretary-General visiting the region, Israel still went ahead and bombed UN facilities, hospitals, media offices, and homes throughout Gaza. And again today, they bombed a UN school where tens of thousands are taking refuge – important to mention is that more than half of Palestinians in Gaza are already refugees from 1948 when they were forced from their homes by Zionist militias.

The bombing of the UN facility yesterday was deliberate. Israel always boasts about their pinpoint technology that allows them to target only “terrorists” and minimize civilian casualties. If this is true, then how did they hit the large UN warehouse in Gaza City especially considering the UN had provided them with GPS coordinates of all of their facilities? The only conclusion one can come to is that this attack was intentional.

Israel hit this building with a white phosphorus bomb that they knew would burn the food supplies that Gazans have become dependent upon. Sine almost one and a half years of siege, Israel has closed all of Gaza’s borders only allowing a trickle of foodstuffs to enter the territory.

And still, we in the west are shackled by this idea of “objectivity,” which to us means to blame both sides for what is happening. But only one side is conducting a massive crime against humanity, and the blame needs to be placed solely on that country. Israel is the occupier, Israel is the aggressor, Israel is one of the most powerful armies in the world. They are targeting civilians including children, they are starving Palestinians, they must be forced to stop it immediately.

Please visit english.aljazeera.net (Arabic is much better than English, but English is much better than most mainstream English media) and please share news and information with friends and family. There are also other things you can do, like demand that newspapers and other media outlets present a clearer picture of what is happening in Gaza. We need to know the facts, the real picture. We need to see images of young children with burns all over their body crying out for their mother who they don’t realize is dead. I know it’s not a nice thing to think or talk about, especially for those who have never seen war, but it is happening, today, right now. And it’s been too long that we’ve turned our heads to the killing that our governments is largely responsible for. We have to open our eyes to it, and if it’s not being shown to us, then demand that it is!

Do something. Today, right now, do something.