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Only sanctions will stop this brutal campaign
The world is watching, and we are all made complicit by the failure of our governments to end Palestinian anguish
Thursday July 13, 2006
Last Saturday, I had lunch with friends in London at a benefit for the medical school at the Arab University in Jerusalem. At home later, I watched the news on al-Jazeera: 12 more Palestinians killed by the Israeli army. There were sirens. There were young men bending to kiss the forehead of their fallen comrade while his mother sat rocking and speechless. There was a man hurrying through twisted metal, carrying the bleeding body of a little girl. There were women on balconies, boys holding toddlers, old men in kaffiyes, and they all said: "Where is the world? Where are the Arabs?"
I pressed a button and switched them all off. I went to bed and slept. Well, I sat on the edge of the bed for a bit. And before that I had watched the images replay in my head while I brushed my teeth and my hair. I had reminded myself to breathe properly and not to frown so hard. And after I went to bed I got up a couple of times to drink water - to try to push down whatever was sitting on my chest and making my breathing short and shallow. But, in the end, I slept.
I woke up this morning, and the day was fresh and new. And I had new emails. Some were from friends desperate to do something and debating what it should be. Some from groups and organisations drafting letters and appeals on behalf of the Palestinians and the Iraqis - yes, let's not lose sight of Haditha and Ramadi because it's Gaza's turn on the rack. And there were messages from the four corners of the earth that had started their e-life in Gaza. Here's one:
"Dear Friends Everywhere, I live in al-Twam, between Beit Lahia and Jabalia Camp. The Israeli troops are moving towards the area where I live. They are 2km away. In the last two days, 35 persons were killed and 120 injured. The Israeli troops are shooting and shelling randomly the houses of the civilians ... Now, while writing this email, at 10pm, the tanks are about 500m from my home. In the coming hours, my home will be in the invaded and reoccupied areas. I do not know what might happen later. My children are hearing the shootings and explosions. They understand that they are exposed to a threat from which no one can protect them ... The only thing I thought I could do is to send this appeal - and hope. Safwat Diab."