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Virus Without Borders: Chapter Sixty-Nine

 

When the World Sleeps © copyright Malak Mattar 2021

 

Cri de Coeur

 

 

any man's death diminishes me, because I

am involved in Mankinde,

 and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls

It tolls for thee.

-John Donne

 

Bombardments and rampaging mobs in Israel and Palestine. And how desperately sad this is. Just over a year ago these adversaries who, in truth, are cousins, all children of the desert, were cooperating. The UN had reminded Israel that they are the occupying power and have responsibility. They had done well with the pandemic, but Gaza and the West Bank were rabid with Covid, aid and vaccine distribution was necessary, obligatory. Now the cooperation is over, and all medical aid has stopped.

 

It began with threatened evictions of an already displaced refugee population in East Jerusalem, police actions, retaliatory actions and more reactions, escalation to war. It has to stop. Finalement, as the French say, it has to stop. An intervention is needed, and very soon, someone as adept as John Kerry, a skilled diplomat and humanitarian; he did wonders as a mediator in Northern Ireland.

 

To understand we must return to an historical timeline and our interpretation and telling of this timeline will depend upon our point of view, our politics. So let me make mine clear: I am a descendant of Holocaust refugees and survivors, a secular non-observant American Jew, and I am not a Zionist. So I say, with a note of sarcasm, even contempt, bless the imperialist enterprise dating back to the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, and the pursuant scramble for spheres of influence. Bless the Brits and their mandate, the displacement of the Palestinian people, their cynical promise to the desperate Jews for Britain's own oil-greedy, strategic, geopolitical benefit, a sordid history. Dear reader, if I am getting some of the timeline wrong, forgive me. I have family in Israel, dear Palestinian friends here in the US. I want them to know: this writer is paying attention.

 

Every so often, I receive a Facebook message from a desperate person who is a friend of a friend living in the underdeveloped world. This week it was from a young woman in Gaza, a friend of Malak Mattar, the twenty-something artist I have written about before. Another of her images graces this post; her work is as powerful as Picasso's Guernica or Diego's murals. She was studying in Istanbul and returned to her family in Gaza in time for this new war. Together with other activists, she has started a Go Fund Me for the children of Gaza. I have not been able to corroborate their bona fides, as yet, so will not post the link here, but hope to do so soon. Needless to say, it's difficult to stay in touch, internet service in and out. 

 

In the meantime, these hashtags:

 

#GazaUnderAttack   #endtheoccupation #savethechildren #truthandreconciliation  #twostatesolution

 

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