Remembering Razan al-Najjar, honoring health workers

Exactly two years ago today, an Israeli sniper shot dead Razan al-Najjar.

The young volunteer medic was among a group of rescue workers walking with their hands in the air and dressed in white vests approaching the Gaza-Israel boundary fence to treat a wounded protester.

During the weekly Great March of Return rallies that began in March 2018, Israel deployed military snipers to shoot to maim and kill unarmed civilians – including children – protesting Israel’s blockade of Gaza and demanding the right of refugees to return home.

As she grew up in Gaza, Razan witnessed repeated Israeli assaults.

“The wars motivated her to enter the healthcare field,” her mother Sabreen recalls in the moving video above published on Monday by the American Friends Service Committee.

“When the Great March of Return started, Razan, of course, was the first young woman to volunteer as a medic.”

“She is the main pillar of our house. She is the smile that went absent,” Sabreen says. “She was my sister, my friend, my daughter and everything in my life.”

“I can’t fathom that Razan, the angel of mercy, who was there to save and treat those who Israel killed and injured, that she herself would also be killed in cold blood.”

Israeli forces killed more than 200 Palestinian civilians, including more than 40 children, during those demonstrations, and wounded thousands more by live fire.

No one has been held accountable for any of those acts.

The video remembering Razan is part of a call to honor Palestinian healthcare workers.

Using the hashtag, #PalestinianHealthcareHeroes, AFSC is asking people to post messages of support and solidarity.

Palestinian medics are working in a health system already stretched to the limit by Israel’s siege and attacks on civilians, and they now face the additional challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is part of the ongoing Gaza Unlocked campaign to build awareness and pressure to end the Israeli blockade.

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Razan was killed because she was an Arab. In this regard, Israel is emblematic. It is unique. There is plenty of injustice in the world, many despicable, undemocratic regimes, but Israel stands alone as a racist State backed by billions of dollars, granted impunity when it breaks international law, permitted to defy UN resolutions, allowed to stand truth on its head every day in its propaganda, and excused by a corrupt international order which claims to support human rights and the rule of law, but veils its face whenever Israel engages in racist murder. As surely as George Floyd, Razan was a victim of racist violence. This is the violence behind a morally debased version of progress; the version which rules the world. Richard Crossman, hardly an insignificant figure in Labour's history, put it succinctly: the Arab, he wrote, in the view of the USA "is an aboriginal who must go down before the march of progress." Progress is conceived of as the rise of the "superior" races, classes and individuals, and the debasement of the "inferior". The inferior must go down. This is a sine qua non of progress. There can be no advance together, there can be no shared improvement. Humanity must be divided between the "superior" and the "inferior". The latter get poverty, humiliation and bullets in the head. The former get private jets and islands. This is the ideology on which the modern world is based because the modern world was built from colonialism and the old idea of white supremacy will not die. Racism killed Razan. It killed George Floyd. It keeps the Palestinians oppressed, the blacks of the USA under daily threat from the police. It keeps the Israeli State powerful, the countries of Europe rich and a tiny world elite wealthy and powerful beyond the dreams of avarice and dictatorship. The false view of progress based on racism must be defeated. Co-operation in equality for the improvement of life for all is the alternative. We owe it to Razan.

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If the state of Israel could express it's unfettered thoughts and intentions regarding the Palestinian people it would sound something like this : "We stole your home and regard you as subhuman but, because you're still infesting our ill-gotten lands, we want you all dead." I have little doubt that if the worlds eyes were not on Israel it would have "liquidated" the Palestinian people long ago. Israel's colonial structure almost dictates the sort of atrocities that, to date, have been committed against the Palestinian people. But it is the most perverse of ironies that the murderous storm that ravaged and nearly annihilated another maligned people came to foreshadow this monstrous state. Zionism is a belief system that simply has racism and a repellent exclusivity as features. (Though, of course, there are many good-hearted Israelis such the people who comprise the excellent anti-apartheid organization B'Tselem.) But just as the consciousness of white Americans is finally emerging from it's fog regarding the unceasing horrors that have always been committed against African Americans, it seems that Americans are less credulous regarding the flimsy, pathetic lies that come from AIPAC and the like. People are lucid and simply fed-up with police brutality. Unity and sheer numbers could result in actual police reform and the same holds true for pressuring the U.S. government to begin getting out of the bed it shares with Israel. Thank you for all that you do to help fight this malignancy and bring awareness to those who are ignorant but willing to see these appalling crimes for what they are.

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