A Meditation on Palestinians

Palestine Flag

Growing up, I heard much about the Vietnam “War” from my parents and brother.   Few in the United States know that 6 million Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians were killed in a mechanized slaughter.  Just over 58,000 Americans were killed.  Death is bad, murder worse.  But ratios of one-to-a-hundred indicate something different than a two-sided “war.”  That should be obvious to anyone, including those who remember that after Heydrich was killed, the Nazis decided that one-hundred Czechoslovakians would be killed for every Nazi.  It is what I call “The Lidice Ratio.”

I also came to understand that the Vietnamese were as tough a people as one could imagine. Poor, with little modern infrastructure, they “won” against the mightiest military the world had ever seen.  “Won” of course is a strange term when your country is in ruins and millions are dead or maimed.  “Won” is a strange term when even after victory, your foliage is destroyed, your land pockmarked with mines, and your people starving and embargoed.  But they did win, in many ways. 

Here’s the thing though:  They won for others not for themselves.  They fought hard to protect their country and to stave off imperialism and from their struggle, others gained.  The “Vietnam Syndrome” kept America at bay for years.  Not that it didn’t finance wars or commit acts of global violence.  But it didn’t go to war and stopped physically-corporeally intervening for decades, until Iraq was unlucky enough to draw the short straw.  Along the way, sure, it destroyed Central America and intervened successfully to ensure East Timorese were massacred (and of course there is more), but it was still held at bay in relative terms. 

The Palestinians are the Vietnamese of 2024.  Not in the sense that they are “fighting” a superpower (after all, they are being bombed to smithereens, starved, displaced, murdered, and have no real defenses) but in the sense that their dignity in suffering and unwavering commitment to their own culture has awed the world.  On campuses worldwide, students are in solidarity with Palestinians.  Often inert folks who are good people but don’t have a political vocabulary are speaking out in disgust at Israeli aggression. 

In the Palestinians is a reflection of our humanity, our dignity, our souls.

Generations hence peoples who are left in relative peace by an oppressive force will have the Palestinians to thank.  They are not going to disappear howsoever hard the Likud thugs try to eliminate them.  Their dignity and their fight, even under impossible conditions, are a beacon to the entire world, to anyone suffering under the yoke of oppression.  Now and in the future. 

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Romi Mahajan

Romi Mahajan is an Author, Marketer, Investor, and Activist

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