Being a victim: A political definition

When there is a suicide attack in Israel, the western press and TV report extensively on the victims. Israel has been shelling Gaza daily recently and the matter seems abstract, the casualties are always reported (when reported) in abstract numbers. For those who are not killed by Israeli shells, the hardship is unbearable, even by local standards. Palestinians are selling everything they possess, including their jewelry (when they have jewelry) in order to be able to survive the economic blocus imposed by Israel.

Nobody 'knows'. Nobody says anything. And when the slightest mild punitive action (Academic boycott) is waved against Israel, who enjoys now an international support, thanks to the 'war on terror' and on Islam, even moderate jews rush to its defense fearing the image of Israel will be slightly scratched while on the other side whole lives are being wasted.

Unrestrained power with no moral questioning is exerted on Palestinians and, thanks to Arab divisions due to Arab leaders obsessive preoccupation by their own grip on power, the trend is here to stay. Palestinians have entered the final cycle of their dispossession.

What is to come out of this ?
Nobody knows and nobody wants to guess.

Here are the partial stories of some of the Palestinian victims

''Mousa al-Sawarka lived in a small ramshackle house, watching over his camels and crops on the edge of Beit Lahia in the north of the Gaza strip, until the rain of Israeli artillery shells got too much. So the 68-year-old Bedouin farmer moved in with his son in town. Two days later a shell flattened Mousa's house. Three weeks after that, another shell killed him as he was trying to drive his camels away from artillery fire. "He was hit directly in the head," says his nephew, Fares al-Sawarka. "We couldn't rescue him because of the shelling. It was 10 minutes before we could get to him. It was so difficult to see his face. When we got the body back from the hospital, we tried not to let his wife see it."

The next day, the family set up the traditional mourning tent within sight of the old man's flattened house. A stream of friends and neighbours arrived to pay their condolences and take coffee. "Then the shells started falling again," says another nephew, Adel al-Sawarka. "We heard screaming and shouting and it was Hassan al-Shafei. The shrapnel hit him in the back and almost cut him in half. There were so many shells, we had to crawl on the ground to escape."

Hassan al-Shafei, a 55-year-old fruit and vegetable farmer, died in hospital. His cousin, Ahmed al-Shafei, carries to the mourning tent five large pieces of shrapnel he picked up in the field. Each is more than six inches long, heavy and jagged. "Imagine this thing, so hot and fast. Just one piece would tear a person's body. It's horrible," he says''


jij said...


Gert said...

I was reading the Guardian article this morning. Will post it tomorrow or later on today. People need to read this.

Wolfie said...

Gert, Sophia.

This subject came up in the office today. My team is a pretty international lot and quite representative of educated Londoners. Everyone knows what is happening but we are powerless. Israeli interests rule supreme, look at the new prime minister strutting his stuff in the US. Bastards.

Sophia said...


Yes that's the general sentiment. We feel powerless in front of what seems to be quite inexorable. But at least, someone has to expose this and I think citizens who are conscient of this injustice are doing their best within their own limits.
I read today a note published on Angry Arab website from Hany Abu-Assad, the Palestinian director who made the movie 'Paradise now'. The note was in the form of a letter in response to Arab (Angry Arab actually was one of them)and Palestinian critics of his portraying of suicide bombers as too tailored to western audiences. I have never read before a sensible plea like his.
To put it in a nutshell, he said that Palestinians are powerless but what is left to them is to make time proof testimonies about what happened and what is happening to them and that it was his job to do so hoping that his work may at least serve this purpose.

Since March 29th 2006