A requiem for the damned

I no longer believe there should be a Jewish State, and the millions of Palestinians who have long recognized Israel’s existence and hoped that some recompense for their 54 years of suffering might come from repeatedly kissing the asses of their white colonial masters here and in the US are rightly questioning why they’re still doing it.

Colin Powell reaffirmed the unbreakable bonds of friendship between Israel and the United States without blinking. He shook Ariel Sharon’s hand before the cameras of the world today after scores of press releases and urgent appeals went out from the people of Palestine to stop the humanitarian catastrophes happening throughout cities, towns, and villages of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, compliments of the IDF and brought to you by Uncle Sam’s tax dollars.

In a dismal room in a cramped and dreary concrete “home” in a Rafah refugee camp, I watched the “news” coming in on CNN and BBC. I wonder if their managers know how much they’ve helped the Palestinian cause here and throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds. The ironies here in the Promised Land abound.

Breaking News: Another young Palestinian girl blew herself up stepping onto a bus in central West Jerusalem this afternoon. When I left the television an hour ago, 6 people had been killed and more than 70 injured. The coverage was instant, comprehensive, and devastating.

The carnage was bleak and horrible. Images of a young Israeli girl sobbing uncontrollably as she was led away from the site played again and again. No one claiming membership in the human race could have been unmoved by her pain ­or the bloodstained street, the stretchers, the ambulances, the feverish medical personnel desperately trying to save lives.

Journalists have preserved this moment for the mass consumption of the First World thanks to the freedom of movement allowed them by Israeli security personnel. Emergency medical relief teams streamed into the city with alacrity bringing state of the art supplies and medical technology to the victims of this crime.

Spokespeople were everywhere denouncing terror and human rights abuses. Regularly scheduled programming was interrupted to bring you this Special Report from the seething, smoldering Middle East. Would US Secretary of State Powell still meet with the “enemy of the world” Yasser Arafat? Hadn’t Sharon just warned Powell he would be making a “tragic mistake”?

Breaking News: A suicide bomber detonated herself killing at least 6 and injuring more than 70 in central West Jerusalem today. Or at least that’s what they’re telling us, you know—they can’t always be trusted. Reports may be unreliable, exaggerated. Perhaps we should wait before mentioning anything about it—wait until after the Sports and Weather. Journalists were barred from entering the city for “security” reasons.

No ambulances or medical personnel were allowed near the dead and wounded. Don’t fret: they were all “militants”, armed with hatred, void of feeling. And we all know what these savages are like: their families and friends in Jerusalem will take the dead bodies away and hide them so that when media are finally allowed back in, the bodies can be laid out in the streets as a propaganda technique proving how brutal their enemies are. (1)

How would the polished spokespeople of Freedom and Justice have responded to this latter scenario?

In Rafah I sat with Samer and his family in front of the television as the news poured in. The faces stared at the screen evincing little so I asked Samer what he thought of the report. “Jenin didn’t happen; Nablus didn’t happen; Bethlehem didn’t happen; we aren’t living under occupation; we aren’t suffering. We are all terrorists, so what does it matter?”

Did anyone out there hear that massacres and summary executions have been taking place all week in the West Bank? That bodies are rotting in the streets and under the rubble of their demolished homes because no one can come in to take them away; no one can bury them? That people have no food, water, electricity, and cannot be questioned because they aren’t allowed to speak ­unless they risk their lives and manage to telephone in a panicked eye-witness report to someone who will then desperately write a press release begging the international community to do something?

“Tell me what happened in Jenin,” Ahmad screamed into the phone when he finally reached his brother after a week of silence. “Jenin?” his brother asked. “Jenin is nothing. There is no Jenin.”

There is also no wife and house to return to, no children, no streets, no buildings. Four thousand men have been arrested and detained by the IDF over the past two weeks; over a hundred murdered in Jenin alone ­or where Jenin used to be.

Where are the photo replays of the sobbing, shaking girls at the scene of the crime? Of the blood spattered streets overflowing with sewage and knee deep in rubble? Where is the emergency relief? Where are the polished spokespeople demanding an end to this 54-year-old crime against humanity?

They aren’t there. There is no report. It didn’t happen. You didn’t hear about it. Why? Because this is the only Democracy in the Middle East, paid for and lauded by the Greatest Freedom-loving Nation on Earth and its state of the art Killing Machines as the Strategic Asset, the Stable and True Friend, the Ideological Ally. Because here in the land of milk and honey, one’s rights, citizenship, and human value depend on one’s maternal bloodline or a ritual that guarantees it in the future ­and the rest, the trash, the refuse, are cooped up in their prisons, surrounded by military garrisons euphemistically known as settlements, (or languishing in the garbage heaps of cities like Beirut) seething with hatred, bent on committing terror because they’re so pissed that their inferiority has been demonstrated by intellectual and political pundits seeking to explain all the “rage”.

Palestinians are crushed together in the margins of their former land like dead leaves in the gutters. Would someone please come and sweep them away?

(1) According to an Israeli military spokesman interviewed on BBC this morning, this is what the people of Jenin would do with the dead in order to promote Palestinian propaganda when foreign journalists are allowed back in.