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?'

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