It is odd that tragedies make obscure things more noticeable. For so many years, the tiny coastal belt, the Gaza Strip, being a needle-eye spot on the world’s map, was not present in the mind of the people across the world. They had no idea about what or where Gaza was, either because they were ignorant of it or they took the “hostile-entity” image for granted. But after Israel’s pogrom in winter 2008-2009, in which more than 1400 innocent people were massacred in Gaza, needless to talk about the extremely unrestrained indulgence in destroying businesses, civilian-owned houses, schools and mosques-- Gaza has gotten into the very conscience of the world.
Gaza was first brought into notice after Israel and some other accomplices imposed an ever-tightening siege, shortly after Hamas won the Palestinian election. Israel has shut down all crossings, preventing even life basics from going in or out of the Gaza Strip. As a result, life in Gaza has been deteriorating ever since.
And as the siege has been tightened, people around the world have likewise grown guilty. The necessity of having to do something has eaten away at their conscience. Ashamed or even appalled by Israeli capacity for atrocity, they have set out to act. Peoples of the world have directed their attention towards Gaza, and begun to give either morally or financially, represented in sea voyages or delegations, all in solidarity and support of the besieged people in Gaza.
And this mechanism of activism peaked after the war. The world could no longer put up with Israel’s continuing genocidal policies in Gaza, and felt an urgent need to take a firm stand against Israel.
The unintended consequences of the war on Gaza have surprisingly been the antithesis of Israel’s clear intention to obliterate Gaza; after the Gaza massacre, the ball has been out of Israel’s court, and the massacre has continued to stir global anger and dissatisfaction.
Now, the entire world is confident Israel does not know any language other than the language of violence, even against internationals trying to bring in humanitarian aid (what happened of late with the Freedom Flotilla was a substantial proof) and the growing peaceful resistance battling Israel’s overtly racist regime and land sequestration policies in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
It’s true that Gaza walks with a gigantic limp, but after the war, there has been a huge shift in support in favor of Gaza. With more people coming in, witnessing first-hand the tragic situation on the ground and diligently documenting Israel’s ongoing war crimes against the more than 1.5 million Palestinian living in Gaza, and providing support in every way possible, Gaza has become the issue of issues.
While there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, I think the issue of Gaza is far more important than being a charity case. People often think that in Gaza people are living humanitarian drought; and what I’m really afraid of is that they are losing the essence of the endeavor of breaking the siege and bringing justice and peace. The people of Gaza don’t need food, they crave freedom—the ability to rub shoulders with the world and to be able to travel and see the world, get better lives and medical treatment, and have good education abroad.
Over the course of the past two years, international efforts to break the siege have been significant in delivering all kind of the support to the beleaguered people of Gaza. Principled people around the world have shown that whatever Israel did or will do, the call for hope, peace and justice will always surpass the ugly trumpet of the war.
Today, two years later, while the world is marking the 2nd anniversary of Israel’s deadly onslaught, I would love to renew the gratitude and appreciation on behalf of every Gazan to all who gave unsparingly in the name of freedom and justice; I hope they continue to extend their hands to us until the siege is completely lift.
Mohammed Said AlNadi, 23, lives in Gaza and is an English literature graduate. He works as translator and freelance journalist. Gaza Two Years Later is a series of posts by Gazan bloggers and writers reflecting on the two-year anniversary of the Israeli attack on Gaza in the winter of 2008/09. You can read the entire series here.