07 January, 2009

The Ripple Effect

An excellent, must-read post from Juan Cole on the potential implications of yesterday's shelling by Israel of a U.N. school in Gaza that resulted in the deaths of 42 people, nearly all civilians and reportedly many of them children, who had sought shelter there. Israeli forces are dropping leaflets telling Gazans to flee, but where are they supposed to go if you're targeting the U.N. shelters? The fact that this is still only registering as a blip on the news - of course so are the two wars we are personally fighting at the moment - is sinful. Your tax dollars paid for all this - the bullets, the tanks and the shells. Remember that, please. Why do people hate us? First of all, it's not us, but our government they despise. As I've said many times, in every country I've been in I've found that people are very good at distinguishing Americans from their government. Not everybody, but the vast majority. And, it's not our freedoms they hate! To hear Bush & Co. drill that one into people's brains year after year sickens me. It's for our policies and the people (the same people who deny them all those freedoms they supposedly hate) we have the sickening, unending habit of crawling into bed with and then later turning out violently when they no longer please us.

Gaza is about 25 miles long and about 7 miles wide. Roughly 1.5 million people live there. 1.5 million on 146 miles of land. The vast majority, about 80 %, live below the poverty line. Since Hamas took power, international sanctions and the closure of the borders by the Israelis and Egyptians have reduced supplies and quality of life. Shortages of everything - gas, electricity, water, food, medicines - have become routine. Hospitals were already overwhelmed. Sewage and sanitation has been an sometimes fatal issue. Now add to that an invasion and constant bombardment. And, people here don't realize it does get cold in that part of the world. Madam Foreign Minister, how dare you claim there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza?

And Israel is STILL barring foreign journalists from the battle zone. And, as usual, ambulance crews are being refused safe passage to do their job and are being killed.

660 dead. Lesson learned yet? Enough?

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