Monday, 26 January 2009

DEC Appeal for Gaza

I'm looking forward to viewing the DEC appeal for the innocent civilian victims in Gaza, that is to be shown today by ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. Shame on the BBC for deciding not to view it - just goes to show how much the BBC media really is controlled. I encourage you to make a complaint here:

You can always trust Tony Benn to tell it like it is:

What a guy!

There seems to be a lot of talk around now about people not paying their license fees in protest. Will be interesting to see if we have a sudden increase in unpaid TV license court cases in the coming year.

Sunday, 18 January 2009


Wikipedia has a good definition of hypocrisy:
'the act of preaching a certain belief, religion or way of life, but not, in fact, holding these same virtues oneself'.

In French a hypocrite is apparently slightly different:
'one who hides his intentions and true personality'.

Almost Funny

Some of these opinions would be amusing, if it wasn't against the backdrop of suffering, the hundreds of children lying in morgues, or under the rubble, hundreds more suffering terrible injuries, and the thousands left traumatised.

3 Life Truths from Steve Jobs

Reading this blog recently you could be forgiven for thinking that my life consists of nothing other than a struggle against the injustices in this world. In actual fact, I do have other interests. In particular I am interested in life fulfilment and personal success. Thanks to my husband for sending me a link to this inspirational speech from Steve Jobs, given a few years ago at Stanford. I'm posting it here as a reminder to myself.

In it he talks about:

- Joining the dots in life. Sometimes the path we follow in life, the skills and life experiences that we pick up, make little sense, until later on in life when we look back. Follow your heart and have faith.
- Loss and love. Sometimes we have to face loss to understand what it is that we really love. Don't settle for less, keep searching for that which you love. You'll know when you have found it.
- Living each day as if it is your last. If you live each day as if it is your last, then one day you will be right! Steve recounts the day on which he was told he had just 3-6 months left to live.

Final message: Stay hungry, stay foolish!

Collecting the Bodies

I've posted this slide show before, but the photos are constantly being updated, so I thought to post it again. Does frequently seeing such images desensitize ourselves to the reality of the horror? Maybe there is something so terrible about seeing a baby or child blown to pieces that it will always have an effect. It is important that everyone faces reality, however gruesome, and doesn't forget what has been happening, until there is some accountability and justice found. I think it is only when some kind of legal justice is found for these atrocities that people can ever begin to lay such terror to rest and that the cycle of violence can ever be expected to come to an end.

Find more photos like this on Palestinian Mothers

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Health or Peace and Justice?

In case you were wondering, this blog is usually related to health, but right now I just can't get past what is happening in Gaza - everything else at the moment seems somewhat trivial. Similar to the fact that we can't really begin to think about personal fulfilment, satisfaction and development if we don't have the basic necessities in life, food and drink, a roof over our heads and our illnesses treated; how can we think about good health and cures for the sick, when in the middle of such mass human destruction?

Now over 1,000 dead, more than 300 of them children, more than 4,800 injured, and there is no end to this ongoing massacre in site.

A couple of days ago I turned on the TV in the morning to watch an interview with a 16 year old survivor of an attack on their home. They were bombed repeatedly. He remembered the third missile in particular. The first two killed his brother and injured family members, the third one killed them all. He watched his brother bleed to death in front of him. He too was injured. He lay there for 4 days, amongst the bodies, before he was rescued. Also found in the house was a 6 year old who had been lying there next to dead uncles and brothers with just tomatoes to eat. He is now very ill himself with infected wounds and cries all the time.

The paramedics were not allowed to access that area for days. Even when they were allowed, they had to walk 1 km from the ambulance to reach them. They feared that there may be more injured lying amidst the rubble that they could not yet reach. Can you imagine your own children, lying injured, next to dead family members, for days on end?

This is Hell on Earth. I cannot imagine any greater misery, any greater sin, than to inflict such injury and terror on innocent children and then to leave them in such a state of torment for so long. This is pure evil and anyone with the slightest bit of faith that supports such actions should consider very carefully the consequence of such support to their own soul.

I feel sick to the core.

Realising that my own mental health was being effected with a poorly son that needed attention, my husband leaving the country urgently to attend to his sick mother, housework neglected and business to run, I turned the TV off for a few days and returned to a life or normality (or pretense?)

Tuned back in to the events today hoping to see some relief, some kind of progress on the political front, some kind of reduction in the level of violence. No such luck.

On the contrary, today I learn that the onslaught has moved in to the centre of the extremely highly populated Gaza city. A UN compound, a hospital and a media building have been under attack, hit by white phosphorous. Thousands of tonnes of food, medical supplies and other emergency assistance is now burning. Apparently horrific accounts of people trapped in buildings are now coming in.

I ask you to choose which of the 3 possibilities are the case when Israeli politicians apologise for such increasingly frequent events (and others previously reported, such as UN schools being hit, UN convoys and paramedics deliberately shot at):
1. They are lying and such actions are deliberate to keep out humanitarian aid and media coverage.
2. The army is out of control.
3. Israeli intelligence is unintelligent.
4. Weapons used are not accurate in hitting their targets.
I can't think of any other option - can you? I'm not sure what the truth is. I'm leaning towards the first option.

Two medics in a hospital in Gaza give a report to the BBC and put out a plea 'We are asking for the help of all physicians across the world - what type of weapons cause these injuries and how do you deal with them?'

It came as some respite to receive an email of support in response to my blog from a dear Jewish friend and also to see some evidence of disapproval to the assault from within Israel itself when thousands took to the streets in protest in Tel Aviv.

Professor Mark Levine from the University of California asks 'Who will save Israel from itself?'

Saturday, 10 January 2009

White Phosphorous

Please just go and have a look at some videos on white phosphorous. Have a search on Google video and You Tube, there's plenty of footage. It burns through to the bone and it will burn through anything, including buildings and bomb shelters. Now there is evidence to suggest that the Israelis are using it over Gaza. It is true that the American army used it to devastating effect on Fallujah in Iraq. There is evidence from medics that it was also used previously by the Israeli army against civilians in Lebanon.

Listening to the Israeli spokesperson this evening he did not deny its use in Gaza, but justified their choice of weapons saying that they only use the same weapons that are used by other armies in the world. Last week I heard the same spokesperson talking about the Israeli army being the most ethical army in the world. Says a lot for ethics.

Please, can anyone explain to me what would be unethical in this so called war against Gaza, if using phosphorous bombs over a densely populated area is acceptable?

This evening I sat down to watch some entertainment on TV to take my mind off things. Final Destination 3 was on. I'm not one for horror/thrillers, but unfortunately my dear husband is, so I decided to watch a little in amusement. I watched two girls getting fried alive on sunbeds - would have been amusing, but all I could see in my head were images of children, right now, getting fried for real.

I kissed my son goodnight like every night this evening, tucked him into bed, just 4 years old, an angel. He has fair skin and dark eyes, chubby cheeks and red lips. He is adorable, and it is all the more apparent when he sleeps. Every night I look at him and thank God for this little miracle before me. Only now, every night I give him a kiss, I think of the poor father I saw giving his child his last kiss before they take him away forever. When I kiss my son's cheek is is warm and soft against my skin. How would I feel if it was cold? And what if that cosy blanket I wrap around him was actually a shroud? These are the things playing on my mind.

Tell me I shouldn't watch so much TV, that I shouldn't let myself get so effected by these things. I could turn a blind eye, as so many do, but then wouldn't I be just as guilty? I choose to feel this pain. It is the pain that gives me the courage to speak out against this evil. There is no other word for inflicting should suffering on innocent children, no justification. It is evil, dress it up however you want, spin it round as much as you like, I know what my conscience tells me, it is evil.

The US government is moving to send 3,000 tonnes of ammunition to Israel. As the other countries of the world call for an immediate cease fire, let us be clear about who is really in control of events here. American people, are you for terror or against?

A Holy Day

Humanitarian aid is not allowed through the border of Gaza today, because it is a holy day of rest. The bombing, however, continues. 13 Israelis and over 800 Palestinians are dead now. Over 400 of them women and children. A further 3,500 injured, 400 seriously (you know, life threatening burns and dismembered limbs, that kind of thing). Now I hear that war tourists are gathering on the borders of Israel, over watching the terror through binoculars, laughing and cheering on the dropping of bombs - please someone correct me and tell me that isn't true.

Very few of the dead have been identified as militants. How many innocent people can one justify killing in order to kill a militant I ask myself? Let us imagine one hundred people lined up. Let us say that 35 of them are children, 20 are women, 45 men. Of the 45 men, lets say that 10 of them are militants. Let us line them up and shoot them that ok? Let's now say that if you don't shoot those 100 people, then one of those militants might just find a way to kill one other innocent person - maybe that makes it ok to kill the 100? What if half of the innocent people were in some way related to the militants - is that ok now? Well, if not shooting, how about putting them in a building and dropping a bomb on them, and some of them might live, but will be badly injured, with memories of other family members that they have lost. Is that ok? Or what about dropping bombs around them for 2 weeks, completely terrorising them, then kindly dropping leaflets on their home telling them to get out before their house is bombed - but they have nowhere to go. They go to bed awaiting their fate. Can you imagine, little children, not knowing what will come in the night? Is that ok?

I hear that 91% of the Israeli population are in favour of this bombardment. I am really struggling to understand this. I simply cannot condemn a whole nation as being supportive of such violence. Please I would love to hear from any Jewish people that are against these acts. I know there are some, I would like to think many. I understand that being under threat yourself from missiles must be very difficult to live with, but I like to think that whatever the circumstances I would never support a war that uses such an armour of artillery against a civilian population. Surely there are many Israelis who are against this?

I also hear that if America decided that this had to stop, it would stop, but not until then. And yet it appears that the American public are either oblivious of what is going on, or don't care, or are in support of this violence. A recent vote in by the US House of Representatives voted to back the offensive by 390 votes to 5.

I believe that any politician that votes in such a manner is directly responsible for this massacre, and anyone that prefers to turn a blind eye is also guilty. I think there is one day that all 3 religions here believe in, and that is the Day of Judgement, when everyone will have to answer for their own actions. I also understand that all 3 religions have some strong words to say about the consequences of harming an innocent child. If you are a religious person, and have forgotten what humanity is, and have lost all compassion, and feel nothing but hatred for Hamas which clouds any feeling for anyone else caught up in this war, maybe you still have some fear of God? Better start preparing your argument now.

Here's the latest video footage, especially for any American reading, since I understand news channels are not giving America the full picture (word of warning, these images are very distressing):

I have been warned that by voicing my opinion and concerns here that I risk loosing the support from the Jewish population with my work on MedWorm. Of course I really hope that is not the case. I have seen great integrity from and have huge respect for my Jewish friends, and would love to see Israel living in peace next to its Palestinian brothers. I can understand what leads people to violence, but I would never support it, on either side of the fence.

What I am trying to do here is help people to remember what war and bombs are really all about - they are about killing, and terrible suffering, and right now children are very much the victims.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Gaza and Popcorn

Awoke feeling extremely 'groggy' this morning. The situation in Gaza has really got to me and I can't get out of my head images of the darling little angels I have seen lying on the floor as if peacefully asleep, but actually dead. Going to bed way too late after watching endless news reports from around the globe. Not sleeping well as I ask myself question after question. I have been shocked by what I have seen, but such images are not new to me as I have for a long time had an interest in human rights and have often sort out such information. But the scale of this ongoing tragedy, and the live images of suffering that I know is ongoing whilst I lie on my very comfortable memory foam mattress, now with a newly added luxurious furry blanket, are of particular torment.

Tried to concentrate on my work, have so much to keep me occupied right now as I work out how to get the funding to take MedWorm to the next level, but my head was pounding. Was it morbid curiosity that led me to seek out yet more images and film footage of grieving parents saying goodbye to their infants? Finding it hard to stop my tears.

And then the postman arrives with a package from a colleague (and I think already a friend) from America. A big tub of Jody's popcorn and fudge, sent to me from a shop in Virginia Beach. Wow this stuff is so scrumptious! You really should try some. You can buy it online too. Doesn't make me forget, fudge and popcorn, but certainly lifts my spirits that someone took the effort to send me this most delicious package.

Feeling re-energized now, back to work!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

More on Gaza

Let me be clear. I don't care for politics or politicians. They have failed, abysmally. What I care about is innocent people, and especially children, living in such terror, danger, and often real pain, both physically and psychologically.

The official death toll in the Gaza war now stands at over 600 Palestinians, and round about 10 Israelis (apologies if I have made a mistake on the latter number, it seems very low, please feel free to correct me anyone if I have got that wrong). Many of the dead are children, and thousands more are injured.

This evening I watched on the news video footage of paramedics coming under repeated fire as they tried to retrieve a dead body. The paramedic leaving the ambulance was clearly identified by his uniform. 13 shots were fired, one through the dead man's head, which then struck into the paramedic's leg. Apparently over 20 medical personnel have so far been killed in this tragedy.

I also watched the funeral of over 40 people, many children, killed in the recent school bombing, and an old lady being treated in hospital who had been rescued during the 3 hour cease fire. She told how 6 houses had been set alight in her neighbourhood, so the families had all been forced to take refuge in another building, which was then in turn bombed and all the 6 families were killed.

I hope all people of conscience, from all faiths, especially all those within the field of medicine, whose profession it is to treat suffering and save life wherever possible, might rise above the politics and speak out against such terrible violence. Surely every life is of equal value? Can violence ever bring about anything other than further hatred and violence?

Here's a BBC article written about the psychological consequence of the bombing on children on both sides of the conflict. The article mentions research that 30% of children from Sderot were showing signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and 1/3 of children from Gaza were suffering from psychological symptoms that needed intervention. Imagine how many that must be now? What does the future hold for such children? Can we expect them to grow up as stable people? Let us remember 20 years from now where we bred the next generation of terror.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The Real Death Toll

According to a (foreign) doctor at the Al-Shifa hospital, the total number of women and children injured as of today was 801, the total number of children killed 101. Thanks to the BBC for getting a reporter inside Gaza. Be warned that these clips are distressing, the second one in particular I found, as it shows a close up shot of a father saying goodbye to his dead child. Sometimes though it really does seem that the only way to get a message across is to show people in graphic detail what is going on - and even that is often not enough.

I'm told that these clips may not work outside the UK, so apologies if that is the case.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Slaughter of the Innocents

Such a terrible night. I am so sad in particular for the thousands of innocent children trembling in their beds tonight, some of whom will be killed and others maimed. I feel so powerless. If I was very rich would I hold some kind of influence? .

Find more photos like this on Palestinian Mothers