Parallel lives in time of war

(AP) دبابة تلاحق النازحين الفلسطينيين

27-01-2024 01:23 PM

Tangier. Exclusively for "Assawsana Newspaper"

As we navigate the first couple of weeks of 2024, we often find ourselves comforted by the unchanging mundanity of some things; the smell of coffee wafting up the apartment steps at 7 in the morning, the “have a good day” messages from your parents on the family WhatsApp group, or even the smell of BO as you commute to work half-asleep.
These small, insignificant habits ground us in life, putting things back in perspective when faced with hardships, and keeping us in touch with our humanity.
And so, as we reflect on the new year, welcome new things, and cherish old ones, let’s not forget what is happening around us, and let’s not ignore the vile, unchanging things in life.
Possibly the most relevant thing that has not changed since we transitioned into 2024 is the staggering double standard with which Western countries are addressing the Russian occupation of Ukraine VS the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Despite both being condemned by the United Nations, it seems that the two occasions do not merit, in the eyes of the world’s leading economic powers, the same reaction and active participation toward finding a peaceful solution that punishes the oppressor, Israel, and protects the oppressed, Palestine.
In an article published in “Le monde diplomatique“, Benoit Bréville made some shocking comparisons that put into perspective how unequal lives are measured by Western/European standards:
While Ukrainian refugees are welcomed with open arms by the millions, in an outpouring of hospitality that would make refugees from Iraq, Syria, or Afghanistan pale in disbelief, Palestinians are not even allowed to leave, despite the constant threats of bombings and unjust evacuation from Israeli settlers. Ukrainians "look like us," justified one British editorialist * ; "they watch Netflix, have Instagram accounts, vote in free elections and read uncensored newspapers". Meanwhile, no one is offering to take in the hundreds of thousands of inhabitants who would like to flee Gaza for safety. After forty-four days of Israeli bombardment, French President Emmanuel Macron reluctantly agreed to receive fifty wounded Palestinian children, only "if [it was] useful and necessary".
Washington and Brussels responded to the Russian invasion with draconian sanctions against Moscow (oil embargo, trade, and banking restrictions, freezing of oligarchs' assets, ban on Russia Today broadcasting in Europe...). Calls for boycotts targeted athletes, musicians, filmmakers and writers. Exhibitions have been canceled; and concerts deprogrammed—nothing of the sort for Israel. Founded in 2005, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is calling for retaliatory measures against Tel Aviv, to no avail. Regularly accused of anti-Semitism, it has been ostracized in Germany and banned in some thirty American states. In France, it is the subject of legal proceedings, while Canada bans its promotion.
The inventory of asymmetries goes on and on. While the West delivers weapons to the occupied Ukrainians, it sells them to the occupied Israelis, while threatening reprisals against those who support the Palestinian armed movements, going so far as to paint them as terrorists, and even killing or imprisoning anyone who is found in possession of arms with no fair trial. US President Joseph Biden called the destruction of the Mariupol hospital "a disgrace to the whole world” but remained silent when Israel's bombardments and blockades put a third of Gaza's hospitals out of action. He denounced the Boutcha massacre as "genocide", but refused to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, where almost 20,000 people have died in less than three months...
Western commentators have often compared the 1,200 Hamas victims to an Israeli population of 8 million, calculating that for a country of 331 million like the USA, the equivalent of the Hamas killings would be the murder of 50,000 civilians, or "20 times 9/11". For France that would be 10,000 dead, or "100 Bataclan". But what if we also compared the 20,000 killed in Gaza to a population of 2.3 million? In France, that would be 580,000 dead. And for the United States, around 2.8 million, more than the cumulative total of all the wars in its history, including the American Civil War. Nearly 70% of Gaza's population has been condemned to exodus. So, let's compare here too: the equivalent would be around 50 million French and almost 200 million Americans.


ـ ـ ـ 


* Daniel Hannan, « Vladimir Putin’s monstrous invasion is an attack on civilization itself », The Telegraph, London, 26 February 2022.

تعليقات القراء

لا يوجد تعليقات

أكتب تعليقا

لا يمكن اضافة تعليق جديد