Lights Out for Gaza


Gaza’s single power plant ran out of fuel today, blanketing the Gaza Strip in darkness for at least the weekend.
Crossings into Gaza may open in Israel and fuel may be allowed through on Sunday at the earliest. This is in spite of the best efforts of the Palestinian engineers who have kept the plant running despite all number of obstacles in the past.

Occasionally, one has to step back and review the situation completely. So let’s start at the beginning: What sins did Gaza commit to deserve this kind of genocide?

I say genocide because there no longer is a viable future for the people of Gaza. All hopes for that have been dashed by the laboratory conditions of their existence. Gaza is being wiped out. What’s shocking to me is that despite this laboratory being open to public view and participation, Israel continues to wreck fire and brimstone down on the heads of nearly 800,000 children without the slightest concern of anyone stepping in to stop this.


Consider the number of children whose lives have been completely ruined by the effects of constant warfare, poverty, and imprisonment. This is a generation that has only known this kind of existence. A surprising amount of children  require hearing aids because of excessive, constant sonic booms over Gaza. To this, Rannan Gissim said, “The inconvenience that it causes the Palestinian population cannot be measured against the question of life or death for Israelis on the other side.” Do deaf Gazan children really present a life or death situation to Israel? Many are malnourished and losing access to decent health care and even clean water. Excessive salination is causing a breakdown in Gaza’s well-based water supply. Food is only allowed into the Gaza Strip through checkpoints that too often close arbitrarily. Over 30% of Gaza’s airable land is a Shoot-on-Sight No Man’s Land. Just this past week, new clothes and shoes were allowed through the checkpoints.

Gaza has over 800,000 children who are underfed, malnourished, poorly-clothed, deaf, sick, and without any kind of prospects for the future. In addition, now they are also living without electrical power.

I wonder how much longer this will last. I’m appealing to your emotions, but I have to. These are children. I get emotional about children. When I see a few hundred thousand suffering like this, I have to hope you feel the same way I do. Palestinian children are worth just as much as any child on Earth. Why is nothing being done to help them?

Gaza has rockets and tunnels of course. Supplies are smuggled in at fear of immediate death for the workers. These tunnels are routinely bombed and collapse often. While they bring through ingredients to go into a rocket (sugar, for instance), they also bring through supplies and food. They are a necessity for survival. Rockets, on the other hand, are a sick cry of pride. It’s obvious by their construction they are both the proudest and the saddest attempt at resistance. With so little, Gazans can only fashion together rockets that certainly pale in comparison to the lethal power of Israel’s arsenal. They try, though, to do something – anything – to save their children and strike back at their hopeless situation.

If it were you in such a situation, what wouldn’t you do? Can we even comprehend behind our television and computer screens what it might be like to live in Gaza?

The existence of this kind of genocide means that it can happen anywhere. Like smallpox, we have to eradicate genocide completely in order to be rid of it. For the rest of the world, it’s Lights Out for Gaza. Unless we can wake up and truly understand what’s happening, we will end up like frogs in the pan. We will wake up one day and say to each other, wow, remember when there were Gazans?

Links:

Donate to UNRWA

Gaza Health WTO Health Sheet January 2010

The Gaza Strip as Laboratory: Note in the Wake of Disengagement (PDF)

Gaza Power Strip (IEEE report)

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