Are we supposed to stop caring about Palestine?

Published: July 13, 2014
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The mother of Palestinian Mohammed Attallah mourns his death at a hospital in the West Bank city of Ramallah. PHOTO: REUTERS

The mother of Palestinian Mohammed Attallah mourns his death at a hospital in the West Bank city of Ramallah. PHOTO: REUTERS Palestinians carry the body of 16-year-old during his funeral in Shuafat, an Arab suburb of Jerusalem July 4, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS Israeli soldiers search a Palestinian youth during an operation to locate three Israeli teens in the West Bank city of Hebron June 16, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS A ball of fire is seen following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City. PHOTO: AFP

Blood seeps from a man’s face, his features rendered unrecognisable by the beating he took from that merciless iron rod a few days back. A baby is snatched from the arms of his mother and mercilessly killed under the pretence that he might have ended up becoming a ‘terrorist in the future. Fathers are slain, brothers are tortured and mothers, sisters and daughters are raped. This is how an average day looks like for a Palestinian.

And now, their land is being trampled upon by a bully of an establishment that is bombing it continually and endlessly. What was once a glorious country has been stripped of all its sanctity; it has been transformed into a bleak battlefield. A haze of fire and gun-smoke hangs over the region, stifling those within, muffling their desperate plea for help to the rest of the world.

After all these atrocities, they ask us why we hate Malala Yousafzai.

Sitting in a Starbucks café, sipping lattes, watching Malala address the UN General Assembly, celebrating ‘Malala Day’ and cheering at the news of Malala’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize 2013, they wonder how utterly ridiculous Muslims can get. This is a brave soul who took a bullet to her head and came out undaunted, stronger and more powerful than ever. Why the backlash?

If only these Western people knew about their naivety.

When you witness strangers taking multiple bullets to their heads, their chests, their legs and their arms, you grow desensitised to the plight of one girl hit by a single bullet. You automatically direct all your sympathy to those people who are being massacred and butchered on a daily basis.

We don’t hate Malala, understand that. We just have more people to be concerned about.

What we do hate are the hypocritical standards of these ‘peace-loving’, award-giving and aid-sending people. They recognise the valour and courage of the girl who was shot by terrorists yet they ignore the multitude of innocent lives taken away in Palestine.

She was flown abroad for treatment, given the highest honours imaginable and declared an iconic girl. But what about the mothers, daughters and wives who have seen their worlds tarnish every day, because one group of people want to grab hold of their land? Why were they not saved? Why was aid not provided to them? Why aren’t their losses recognised, let alone honoured?

Her story is inspiring, yes, but theirs is utterly tragic. She is writing books of glory while they are jotting down their last wishes, not sure if they will be alive tomorrow. Her story was heard by the entire world; why are their voices being muffled then?

Israel decides to carry out massive airstrikes against the Palestinians, this time leaving them bereft of the little Gaza strip they possess. The bombings intensify and the gun-shots increase in frequency. Israelis argue that it is merely in retaliation to the attacks by Hamas. They are on the offensive side. Armed with weapons of mass destruction, nuclear power and a tremendous army force, the Israelis are the victim – that’s what they say. They aim ‘to restore peace and quiet to the citizens of Israel’ and they plan to do this by killing dozens of people every day.

As reported by the Voice of America, after the wreckage of close to 560 sites that Israel said its warplanes had hit since the operation began early Tuesday, Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio that there is a lot more to come.

What sort of inhumane retaliation is this? Is Israel on a vendetta to finish off Palestinians for good?

I don’t know the entire history of Palestine, nor do I intend to get into the technical geographical boundary debate. All I know is these are two countries out to get vengeance, and in the process, they have both stooped to what has got to be the lowest point of deterioration mankind has ever experienced.

And what does the rest of the world do? Watch the FIFA World Cup 2014, for it comes every four years and cannot be missed.

I ask the religious authorities, is Islam really only about praying and fasting?

Is attaining piety more important than addressing the pleas and shouts of our Muslim brethren?

Is it limited to performing Hajj in the month of Zilhaj and Umrah in the month of Ramazan?

I ask our religious scholars, has Islam changed now? Does our religion no longer value human life? Is the Muslim world supposed to sit back silently and let Israel crush the innocent civilians of Palestine?

However, this is not about religion anymore. It has transcended to include the core concepts humanity hinges on – love and hate. And right now, hate is getting all the attention. Israel is killing hordes of people and the world is still putting the blame on Palestine. On what level of human intelligence is this considered acceptable? We have many instances of people who have been to Israel, who have seen the tyranny taking place there first-hand and they all pinpoint only one villain in this woefully tragic story – Israel.

On a fundamental level, what exactly is a person supposed to do? Note that I say person and not Muslim. I address our governments, our charismatic leaders, our religious authorities, the United Nations and every other organisation possessing a semblance of power… what’s a person to do? Stop caring? Blind oneself with trivialities like football? Enjoy lavish iftars in the name of religion while our fellow brethren get brutally murdered?

Well, if that’s what we are supposed to do, then I must commend our progress; for that is all that we have been doing ever since this breach against humanity has been in play.

Sara Pirazada

Sara Pirzada

A BBA student at IBA. She tweets as @PirzadaSara (twitter.com/PirzadaSara).

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.