With 800 people dead and over 4,000 injured, Israel’s ground invasion into Gaza only worsens. Those numbers are accurate as I write this. They will have risen by the time you read it.
For the past two weeks, the entire world has witnessed an outrageous number of innocent civilians die in Gaza as a result of what Israel calls “Operation Protective Edge.” We have also witnessed news headlines filled with devastating and rising death counts, leaving us hopeless in the search for a possible peaceful solution to the Palestinian- Israeli conflict.
As a Palestinian living in the U.S., and as a human watching yet another massacre occur within miles of my place of birth, I can’t help but feel paralyzed, powerless and most frustratingly, helpless.
Driving up I-5 North on my daily commute to work, I make it a point to phone my family in Nablus, in the West Bank, each morning to stay connected and informed about their safety and emotional well-being. Stuck in traffic and frustrated by the many innocent lives lost, I sit in tears as I listen to my family’s voices filled with agony as they retell the many stories of those who were brutally murdered in Gaza.
It leaves me wondering whether it is better or worse to be here, waiting to hear if friends or extended family have survived, or to be there and witness my fellow citizens die while under siege.
In a depressingly comforting way, I know that I’m not the only one going through these sentiments and frustrations. Many other Palestinian Americans, Arab Americans, Jews, human rights activists and pro-peace organizers share the very same emotions, and rage at the cruelty of the situation.
This begs many questions: what can we do here? How can we be involved? What can we do to make a difference? How can we raise awareness about the human aspect of the conflict rather than the ugly political face of it? How can one morally accept the absurd justification that “Israel has the right to defend itself and that Hamas is using its citizens as human shields?” In what world can mass murder be justified?
I have joined many activists, both American and Arab, who have gathered every weekend, even sometimes during the week, to peacefully protest against what’s happening, to let people know that we are still able to make a difference even from so far away, and to educate our own community about this critical issue.
Though the Palestinian community in Seattle is small in size, groups such as the Palestinian Solidarity Committee and many other individuals have furiously continued to organize events all over the Seattle area to raise awareness about Gaza. From vigils, to peaceful protests, to active and loud demonstrations, the Seattle community is truly stepping up to make a difference.
Jewish Voice for Peace has been hugely instrumental, not only by joining the protests, but also by using social media to report death tolls and to emphasize the importance of uniting everyone against Israeli war crimes in Gaza. A reminder that we must not repeat history has been a crucial element to their message.
We are now having conversations in our schools, universities, workplaces, coffee shops, and living rooms. We are trying to educate through social media by engaging everyone in our social circles about this issue. The American audience is finally seeing the human face of the conflict; seeing the conflict from a Palestinian and humanitarian point of view.
With so many innocent souls killed, the question remains: how far can we let this go on for? And when will the world side with justice and against genocide?
You can make a difference NOW. Attend a protest, write your senator, sign petitions, and use social media as an outlet. Help us stop the genocide now.
A demonstration for Palestine in Seattle
Saturday, July 26, 12-2pm
Seattle Center, corner of 5th & Broad
Details on Facebook »