The world has just honored yet another Armistice Day – Remembrance Day – Veterans Day for all those who lost their lives in armed defense of their nation’s right to exist and remain a free people. Nation’s like the United States, Canada, Australia, UK and Israel pay constant tribute to those key battles and wars that once determined their continued existence and survival.
But what about forgotten nation’s like Palestine who clearly don’t qualify in the minds of many as equals among other nations who deserve the same level of defense of their nation’s right to exist and remain a free people? The Palestinians reduced, in the minds of many, to euphemisms of those others different from us who don’t count. The Palestinians reduced to mere fragments of what they once were, their once prosperous, happy villages, towns and cities filled with happy children, families and the commerce of a viable way of life, now turned into hostile, squalid refugee camps, cordoned-off checkpoints at gun point and walled-in enclaves of homes cut off from their fields and livestock? When, if ever, can they hope to celebrate their own armistice, remembrance or veterans’ day and the value and identities of their own peoples’ lives that have been lost?
For almost 100 years, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, that long ago distant moment in 1918 is honored when the world finally woke up from the madness of its nightmare and called an armistice to all the needless butchery, savagery and carnage that it had collectively waged against the human and natural worlds, and, indeed, against the very essence of life itself. In that moment of fleeting sanity – out of sheer exhaustion from its blood-letting, murderous killing spree – the world finally awoke and declared a halt to its naïve, duplicious declaration of intent to perpetrate what it called, “The Great War to End All War”. Once again the world erringly failed to grasp the basic idea that War – All Wars – are nothing more than a failure to communicate and so, instead, commit itself to the pursuit of perpetual peace.
Yet since that distant moment in 1918, the watchword “Lest We Forget”, like a mantra, is nevertheless religiously evoked every 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to recall the futility of those murderous, barbarous times and spur a remembrance of all those lives needlessly lost in the process. They repeatedly argue who should or shouldn’t wear a poppy pin as a symbol lest we ever forget. Yet it remains so much lip service. No sooner does the world evoke that watchword than it forgets it over and over again as the continuing carnage and bloodbath of modern human history proceeds somewhere, as it has in the intervening 100 years; committing itself every few decades to yet some another war or holocaust that slaughters millions more lives in every corner of the earth. No place on earth has been spared in spite of that constant admonition that implores humankind to remember: Lest We Forget!
Yet at the slightest whim or desire of whatever new would-be conqueror, megalomaniac or narcissist that would dominate the world, the crème-de-la-crème of their nation are prepared, like Pavlovian Dogs, to once more thrust themselves into the meat grinder for The Cause, whether for God, King or Country; acting once again like lemmings to the sea, sacrificing themselves for whatever new hopeless, meaningless, unattainable version of ‘The Madness’.
But with every new Remembrance Day the emphasis primarily is on the military casualties suffered under arms, while the invisible and forgotten names, faces and histories of all the innocent, defenceless civilian populations, who also paid the ultimate price with their lives and those they loved, remain buried deep within the rubble of so many democidal massacres or non-democidal, war-related famine, pestilence, disease and mental disorders.
All their rich heritage, hopes, dreams and aspirations have simply ceased to forever be without any records. The generals and their leaders often barely account for their numbers and faceless, identities, barely counted as so-called collateral damage. Those like the Palestinians and host of other ‘hated ones’ with non-white faces, non-Christian and non-Jewish faiths and non- Western heritage forever remain unacknowledged and uncounted.
In the end, the ensuing meltdown and unraveling of civil human societies leads to untold, widespread irrational mental disorders and syndromes among the populace that continue to create ever more suicidal bombings, mass murders and massacres that grow throughout the world. No country remains immune.
In the United States hundreds of horrendous acts of mass murder, mahem and terror continue to be committed in such diverse places as: elementary and secondary high schools; movie theatres, gay night clubs, outdoor music concerts, and churches. Yet what continues to happen to Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip make the terror happening in other places in the world seem almost ridiculously minor non-events by comparison.
The long history behind how Israel first came to be in the lands of Palestine and ever since have continued to supplant its indigenous Palestinian peoples with so much betrayal, bloodshed and complicity, committed by so-called upstanding Jewish citizenry with the help of right-wing Zionist and conservative Christians and other religious zealots worldwide, especially in the United States, Canada, Australia, Britain and the Irish Free State, is the real background story to so much of the world terror that has occurred ever since:
The Balfour Declaration made at the end of World War I, that led to the resulting Nakba War in Palestine in 1948; the endless Intifada’s and Israeli military operations over illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, in violation of international law and U.N. resolutions over the past seven decades; continue to provoke the existing perpetual War of Terror throughout the Middle East that rages far and wide like a deadly untreated cancerous scourge.
The sheer magnitude of the original betrayal that Zionism and its supporters have perpetrated for over seven decades against the Palestinians ever since the signing of the Balfour Declaration in 1917, that sealed the ultimate fate of the Palestinians and ensured a century of their persecution; has been perpetuated with the assent of a world that ever since, like a host of modern-day Pontius Pilate’s, leaving the fate of Jesus totally in the hands of Jews lusting for his blood, has washed its hands of the whole thing. The reality is that the Balfour Declaration provided the basis for the total negation of Arab Palestinians right to self-determination and led to Zionist militias in 1948 that ever since have been intent upon creating a pure Jewish Religious apartheid State, requiring the violently expulsion of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children and commission of all manner of horrific massacres and the destruction of the Palestinian way of life that has ensued ever since over the past seven decades.
What continues to go on in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people should be considered an outrage against humanity yet isn’t. Gaza and the Gaza Strip continues to be nothing more or less than an open prison and series of squalid refugee camps, victimized by on-going illegal sieges and onslaughts against the Palestinians of Gaza while its refugee population continues to grow, making it now the most densely populated concentration of land on earth. Unheard of increases in population, unemployment and squalor imposed by Isreal in the Gaza Strip, as punishment for the Palestinian people approval of the Hamas takeover of the territory, would challenge even the most developed Western country with the greatest capacity for infrastructure development IF, that is, they had the will to do so.
Hamas, considered by Isreal and its allies as a terrorist organization, periodically continues to suffer the brunt of helicopter attacks and ground forces that kill or wound countless innocent, defenseless civilians. Over the years, helicopter attacks, Israeli missiles and artillery bombardments have been surgically fired upon Gaza, intentionally aimed at UN-designated sites, hospitals, schools, mosques and homes, while Israeli warplanes have killed thousands of civilians with whole families wiped out. Thousands more innocent, virtually defenseless Palestinian civilians have become the victims of endless and punitive death and destruction inflicted by one military operation after another and military snipers that brutally occupy and terrorize the people of Gaza. In 2007, Gilad Sharon, son of Israel’s former PM Ariel Sharon and a major in an elite IDF Unit, even had the temerity to wish for the complete destruction of Gaza, like another Hiroshima or Nagasaki, and send the Gaza Strip back to the Stone Age.
As further punishment, the people of Gaza, because of their affiliation with Hamas, have been subjected to such tortures as trying to cope with only two hours of electricity per day, without air conditioning or heating in blistering hot or freezing cold temperatures. The nearby Mediterranean ocean, as polluted as it is, designated off-limits to the people who are prevented from even trying to use it to cool down in a heat wave; with 50% of Gaza’s hospitals non-operational due to an inability to get supplies through Israel’s concentration camp-like borders, with 97% of Gaza’s water undrinkable because Israel denies Gaza’s ability to purify its waters.
Few Palestinians can even get in or out of the Gaza Strip, and virtually nothing that human beings everywhere in the world normally need to make their lives viable, if not palatable, like food, medicine, fuel and goods, can get into Gaza, further perpetuating the severe misery of the people. Rafah, the only remaining door to the outside world from Gaza to Egypt, was closed in 2014 by an Israeli blockade that besieged the Gaza Strip, forcing the people, for their very survival, to dig dangerous tunnels at the risk of their lives, to smuggle in and out much needed goods and commerce. These tunnels repeatedly bombed by Israeli war planes and artillery, killing many innocents inside the tunnels while maintaining an ever-tighter death grip on Gaza’s tenuous existence.
So, as the world passes yet another Remembrance Day anniversary it would seem only fitting and proper if it remembered, lest it forget, and pay tribute to those Palestinians who strive, against great odds, to try to help their people survive against almost all but insurmountabe odds. If some other state terrorist organization in the United States or Canada were to commit similar acts of terror against defenseless indigenous peoples the hue and cry, gnashing of teeth and aggrieved beating of chests would be overwhelmingly huge. Instantly there would be hell to pay with cries for vengeance and retribution. Yet the state media of the U.S., Canada,Israel and its other allies only ever refer to Palestinian activists, resistors and freedom-fighters as ‘militants’ and ‘terrorists’, rather than courageous ‘patriots’ and ‘heroes’ who desire to live free and dream dreams of a positive future.
So, while Israel, with the tacit compliance of the rest of the world, continues to slowly bleed to death the Palestinian people, destroying whatever human values, dignity and will to resist still exists among the people, the battle between the occupation of the Israeli government and colonization of stolen territories by its illegal settlers, the constant murder of civilians in markets, shopping malls, discotheques, train stations, kibbutz settlements, synagogues and cafes, and economic and material blockades continues unabated.
Yet so-called democratic Western nations like the United States and Canada nevertheless continue to provide unequivocal moral support, succor, and billions of U.S. & Canadian tax payers monies and war armaments that daily and annually are supplied to the nefarious ends of Israel’s state-run terrorism; with virtually little oversight or accountability of how the monies are spent or contribute to clear violations of U.N. resolutions, principles of international law, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
So in the spirit of Remembrance Day and its admonition Lest We Forget, it’s appropriate that the world recall what U.S. President Woodrow Wilson said to his fellow countrymen and women on Nov. 11th, 1919 during the 1st Armistice Day anniversary, when he declared:
The reflection henceforth we will make on every Armistice Day anniversary will be filled with the same solemn pride we each feel for the heroism of all those who died in the service of our respective country’s, and with gratitude for the victory that all their supreme sacrifices and all the ugly things of the past from which we are freed and now have the opportunity to show our nation’s sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of all other nations.
Jerome Irwin is a Canadian-American activist-writer who, for decades, has sought to call world attention to problems of environmental degradation and unsustainability caused by excessive mega-development and the host of related environmental-ecological-spiritual issues that exist between the conflicting philosophies of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. Irwin is the author of the book, “The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle Island Odyssey”, a spiritual sojurn among the native peoples of North America, and has produced numereous articles pertaining to: Ireland’s Fenian Movement; native peoples Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Movement; AIPAC, Israel & U.S. Congress anti-BDS Movement; the historic Battle for Palestine & Siege of Gaza, as well as; innumerable accounts of the violations constantly waged by industrial-corporate-military-propaganda interests against the World’s Collective Soul