Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Gaza - Israel - all that

Some days ago a friend sent me an email asking me to sign a petition for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Well, I told him that I will certainly not sign this petition.

The Gaza strip is a kind of concentration camp. When Israel was founded in 1948, the Palestinians living there were driven out and put into storage in Gaza. The place is the most densely populated area in the world. Crammed with refugees for now 60 years precisely. People who are obliged to live there on a subhuman level, survival alone is assured and even that not always, war or no war. No work, no future, no getting out. No hope.

Can't help thinking that what is happening now in Gaza bears strong similarities with the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943. There is however one big difference: in 1943 the inmates were Jews and they were facing death by the German SS and in Gaza the supervision is carried out by the Israelian army. (For more details, see Sunday Herald - 1.13.09 "Gaza ghetto is destroyed and the world stays silent" or Reuters - 1.10.09 "Shadow of Warsaw ghetto over Gaza".

Sure, no government in any state could or would tolerate that its people are being targeted by rockets. However, these rockets have caused much fright and about 15 deaths. In Gaza killing is carried out on a wholesale basis, should now be well over thousand. And I can't help thinking that it would be better - if I were there - to die right on the spot than being treated in a hospital where there is more or less nothing.

For those who are interested, here is a video made by reporters from the British newspaper "The Guardian".

In order to win this "war", the Israeli air force is lavishing white phosphorus (WP) on the inhabitants. Imagine YOU come in contact with this chemical. It burns on your skin unless deprived of atmopheric oxygen and the particles continue to burn right down to the bone until the chemical is used up. For more details, see "globalsecurity.org" - White Phophorus and "haaretz.com" - 1.12.09 "White Phosphorus shells".

It should be said that the state of Israel has always cherished special treatment for the people conquered in 1967. Land confiscation, housing demolitions, driving people into abject poverty and hopelessness. Want more details? See UN report And in order to keep the stolen land and avoid any hostile reaction from the victims, they build a wall. In that they surpassed even the Communists whose Berlin Wall was at least erected on their side.

In a nutshell, they should be stopped. What is being done to the Palestinians is wreaking havoc worldwide. Hypocrisy and denial reigns. All this is not even in the interest of the Israelis themselves. Nobody with at least a little common sens can imagine to prepare a secure and carefree future for the coming generations when showing such total disregard for all neighbors and everybody else.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Customary well wishing

Here in Western Europe, we have this burdensome habit of sending greeting cards to each other. I have this English friend who humbles me each year by being the first to send his card with wishes for merry Christmas and a happy new year.

His card arrives in early December and gives me the signal to get busy.

On the other hand, the French post their cards till mid-January. Sure, it's a bit late for the "merry Christmas" stuff but you can always purchase cards who cater exclusively for the next year.

All this is a kind of chase where the first-comer humbles the late-comer. Because you have to answer those cards and make believe the other one that both cards crisscrossed somehow. Meaning something like "I am not the uncivil one who waited or was about to forget. I am just a tiny bit late. The postal service was probably on strike."

I hate this custom but don't dare to go silent. Because you can't receive all those well wishings without answering accordingly. I must admit: I don't have the guts to do so.

There is a positive side to all this. You can gloat and boast about all those cards received. We are stacking them on the chimney are are proud to have so many. Meaning without saying so: "I got more than you".

Here, look what we harvested this year:

It might be fun to send those stereotyped wishes in July with a remark saying "to be activated in December/January" or something like "covers a 12-year-span - best before 2020. Then you can live in peace till that date or even better: die before.