Refugee Camp Bombing: All Eyes On Rafah Bleed Tears of Blood

All Eyes on Rafah

The old world is dead, and the new world will be stillborn. This is, indeed, a time of monsters. My modification of Gramsci’s quote is caused by deep sorrow and pain-inducing rage at the genocide unfolding in Gaza by the hour. The martyr Aaron Bushnell who set his body afire to protest this colonial rampage through the land and spirit of Palestine now seems to be a prophet of the moral doom of Israel and the American-led West. The dastardly attack on the refugee encampment in Rafah, near a UNRWA site comes as yet another shock, leaving people reeling at the sheer barbarity that is being perpetrated in this day and age. What is even more enraging and repugnant is that Israel has done this as a direct response to the International Court Of Justice (ICJ) ordering it to immediately halt its ‘operations’ (genocide) in Rafah. 

The images coming from the ground are grisly and terrible. People can’t find it in them to share them, choosing instead to describe the horror in words. Even the lackey talking heads in the West like Piers Morgan have realized that this is a crime they cannot get behind. Israel has proved its illegitimacy and its irredeemably criminal nature by choosing to cut itself from all postwar norms of human civilization and all obligations to international institutions. It is sinking its claws into the precious white skins of the Western establishment, dragging it with itself as it goes down hissing and spitting at everything and everyone. But we must not look away. 

How much blood can the land soak up?

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Images of great historical significance (if also of great shame and moral vacuity) are being uploaded in real-time, which will go down in the pages of whatever history humanity will survive to write about. Nikki Haley (i.e. Namrata Randhawa rebranded as a white conservative) has just signed Israeli missiles with “Finish them”, repeating a dastardly thing that many before her have done, and many after her will do. As someone said on Twitter, this is like a gang initiation, an act of violence that marks one’s ongoing complicity and buys ‘loyalty’ and silence for all crimes henceforth. This is a signing away of all humanity of the oppressor as she dehumanizes the oppressed. This is the settler performing the savagery of which she accuses the native. This is an American of Indian origin, with the craven enthusiasm for Israeli crimes present in both societies brought together in one figure: the worst of both worlds. As of writing, Haley’s team seems to have deleted the tweet.

We have been witness to acts of excruciating barbarity and also of selfless, unflinching humanity. However, this is not to say that one has cancelled out the other in a ‘balance-in-all-things’ liberal humanist reconciliation. The scales are undoubtedly tipped in favour of the existing power structure whose brute face leers at us daily. All people of conscience are being put through the psychological torture of having to watch the grisly, heart-rending events in Gaza play out as we helplessly watch. This goes against the fundamental human instinct to feel another’s pain, to out oneself in another’s shoes, and to feel distress as human beings like ourselves are repeatedly reduced to a subhuman, animalistic status with their bodies, minds, and spirits being subjected to the worst fates that man can pile on man.

Being witness to the Palestinian genocide a few decades after the ‘end of history’ had been declared fills me with the extremes of pessimism and a feeling that all the civilizational values and lessons learnt over the many centuries past have been pound to dust, pretty much like the city of Gaza itself. I cannot escape the feeling that the last two decades have been marked with catastrophic global events whose shockwaves and impact will be experienced for years to come.

Are we dead inside to death itself?

The pandemic (which by many accounts is not over yet) showed us the disposability of humans as they are left to be ground up in the wheels of the ‘economy’: wheels that only seem to take the elite forward, up, up, and away from the rest of us. Empathy for the sick and dying, and the organizational resources and mobilization that should have been the defining feature of this high-tech, digital modernity we keep congratulating ourselves over were nowhere to be found. We were conditioned to let millions die as we ducked our heads down and awaited the return of business as usual.

We saw mass death all around us and learnt to compartmentalize, to shove our feelings away, and to lose ourselves in mindless entertainment. One thing was made clear: we are all as disposable and unwanted as the people we abandon and forget about. We forgot that we are all worth exactly the same as the ‘lowest’ among us. Everything else is chance, luck, and power.

And just like the hundreds of dead bodies kept peeking out of their shallow graves here in India, refusing to be buried out of sight, the many horrors and tragedies of Gaza keep making their way to our screens that are meant to sell things to us and not to ‘connect’ us to each other. It is a travesty that Palestinians in their occupied homeland and around the world have to make a spectacle out of their suffering again and again just to get this uncaring world to notice. They have been denied the right to grieve in dignity and seek redress for their travails of over a century. Their cause and rightful resistance inspire all who are struggling against oppression around the world, be it in Kashmir, South Africa, the United States, and many others. In recent weeks, the sustained pressure by the masses of the world have led to some concessions from the entrenched powers which are significant for the future course of action.

‘Israel’ the settler colony has no right to exist

It is not enough to call for a “ceasefire” or a ‘two-state solution’. There is no ‘solution’ to this other than the total dismantling of the criminal Zionist entity known as “Israel”. This Jewish ethnostate with a credo of maximum brutality and zero accountability, together with its perpetual demand for impunity in the name of the exceptionality of the Holocaust and the credo of ‘survival’ above all, can no longer be tolerated. The world is on the cusp of a great war, and the prospect of a third global conflict of total destruction does not seem as far-fetched as it would have a mere decade ago. At this moment, the dream of a truly free Palestine and an “Israel” consigned to the dustbin of history only exists as words. Let us all grieve, rage, and organize in the name of Gaza, Palestine, and the eternal resistance to oppression in all its forms.

Arjun Banerjee is a writer and political commentator. He is a postgraduate in English literature from the University of Delhi. He writes about current events and culture

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