Sunday, July 27, 2014

On Gaza's tragedy

Jon Snow, one of UK's Top Journalists Says Gaza Has Left Him 'Deeply Scarred'

I cannot fathom why on earth the world can see what is happening to the Stateless people of Palestine and keep quiet. Nothing, absolutely nothing justifies the maiming and killing of other people's children. NOTHING. The other day, President Obama said it "breaks my heart". About the same time the US Senate passed resolution S. 498 which read:

Expressing the sense of the Senate regarding United States support for the State of Israel as it defends itself against unprovoked rocket attacks from the Hamas terrorist organization.
Whereas Hamas is a United States-designated terrorist organization whose charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel;
Whereas Hamas continues to reject the core principles of the Middle East Quartet (the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia)--recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and accept previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements;
Whereas Hamas has killed hundreds of Israelis and dozens of Americans in rocket attacks and suicide bombings;
Whereas, since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Hamas and other terrorist groups have fired thousands of rockets at Israel;
Whereas Hamas has entered into a unity governing arrangement with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority;
Whereas the unity governing agreement implies Fatah's and the Palestinian Authority's support for Hamas' belligerent actions against Israel, potentially contributing to a false perception of legitimacy for Hamas' belligerent actions;
Whereas, since June 2014, Hamas has fired nearly 300 rockets at Israel;
Whereas Hamas' weapons arsenal includes approximately 12,000 rockets that vary in range;
Whereas innocent Israeli civilians are indiscriminately targeted by Hamas rocket attacks; and
Whereas 5,000,000 Israelis are currently living under the threat of rocket attacks from Gaza: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the Senate--
        (1) reaffirms its support for Israel's right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel;
        (2) condemns the unprovoked rocket fire at Israel;
        (3) calls on Hamas to immediately cease all rocket and other attacks against Israel; and
        (4) calls on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve the unity governing arrangement with Hamas and condemn the attacks on Israel.

Notice that throughout this resolution, the Senate of the United States did not see the need to acknowledge the carnage and utter destruction of Gaza, the killing by Isreali War machine of hundreds (the figure has since topped 1000), a majority of them, according to the UN, civilians. And yes the deaths of many, many children a few of whom Jon Snow visited at Gaza's Shifa Hospital. Not one single acknowledgment of the destruction of human lives by their ally. Yes, the US has every right to support their ally; but to ignore the disproportionate "Israeli ruthlessness" (as Max Hastings calls it on Mail Online), is nothing short of astonishing, and unconscionable. Do these politicians, and their Israeli counterparts believe that whoever among the people of Gaza survives this massacre will forget what happened to their families and community this summer of hell? What does History tell us?

Watch Jon Snow's account of reporting from Gaza

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

For Two Nigerians, the Wonders of Senegal!

        Ecole National des Arts, Dakar

Yesterday, I was in a taxi with my dear friend and artist Jerry Buhari who was here in Dakar for the just-ended "Artistic Education in Africa" conference organized by Raw Material Company. We were headed to Lalibela, the Ethiopian restaurant in Rue A. At some point, the taxi, driven by a man who must be in his 70s, made a turn to join another road and, just then, a military vehicle driven by a young uniformed soldier blocked our way. The soldier apparently had knowingly made the wrong turn and would not reverse. Jerry and I know, the Nigerians we are, had seen the unfolding script play out many many times before back home. Anxiety. But what happened reminded us how far away Dakar/Senegal was from our Nigeria. Our driver rolled down his window, repeatedly yelled out "what the hell are you doing?! And then proceeded to order the soldier to reverse his car. The soldier, knowing full well he was wrong, hesitated a bit, mumbled some kind of apology, reversed and went on his way! Miracle in Senghor's land! The script Jerry and I had read back home would have had the soldier descend from his truck, pull out the bloody civilian driver, and maul him right there for disrespecting a military man. If he were inspired he would even flog the occupants of the taxi for having the bad judgment to patronize such insolent cab driver. And nothing, absolutely nothing, would have happened to the uniformed Nigerian mad dog.

We mourned Nigeria, again.