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On 'human shields' and inhumanity in Gaza

It's the third time in six years that Israel launches a war on Gaza. Can you imagine that? If you were a Palestinian child born in Gaza 6 years ago, you would now have lived through three wars (provided you survived all of them). It's also the third time in six years that the Israelis pull out their tried-and-trusted-'Hamas-hides-behind-the-people-and-uses-them-as-human-shields-therefor we are allowed to bomb anyone and anything,'-rhetoric,  and I'm getting really, really tired of it. I previously posted the below text on facebook, but decided to share it here, too.

So let's talk about those so-called 'human shields', shall we?

[First, to get this out of the way: if you lock up people on a small strip of land, it's kind of naive to expect them to separate into different zones - one for fighters and one for civilians. Obviously they are sharing the same, small, physical space, so stop pretending you can hit one without hitting the other or even that it's their own fault if one gets hit while you were supposedly aiming for the other. Thanks.]

Second, and much more importantly: there is no such thing as a Palestinian human shield. Why not? Because the very rhetoric about human shields dehumanizes ALL Palestinians, whether they are fighting with Hamas or not. Here's how that works:

1) Saying Hamas uses 'human shields' (rather than, for example, 'civilian shields') implies that once you are Hamas, you are no longer human. Therefore, any Palestinian who picks up arms to fight the occupation is no longer seen as human.

2) If, as a Palestinian, you resist the occupation in other, possibly non-violent ways (and it seems that 'being physically present in Gaza' already counts as such), the very rhetoric of being used as a human shield strips you of the very thing that makes you human: agency. It means your presence is not the result of your own convictions, no, you are merely a puppet in the hands of the terrorists. And puppets, as we all know, are not human.

Simple, right? Two birds, one stone; they're either violent terrorists or passive weaklings used by terrorists. Neither is human, neither deserve that we care about their life.

Oh, and let's not forget that the first ones are usually men and the second usually women, meaning that as an added bonus this rhetoric reduces the resistance of Palestinian women in its many shapes and forms to zero. Ugh.

Running Orders

[for Gaza, once again]

They call us now.
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David.”
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think "Do I know any Davids in Gaza?"
They call us now to say
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.
They think of it as some kind of
war time courtesy.
It doesn’t matter that
there is nowhere to run to.
It means nothing that the borders are closed
and your papers are worthless
and mark you only for a life sentence
in this prison by the sea
and the alleyways are narrow
and there are more human lives
packed one against the other
more than any other place on earth
Just run.
We aren’t trying to kill you.
It doesn’t matter that
you can’t call us back to tell us
the people we claim to want aren’t in your house
that there’s no one here
except you and your children
who were cheering for Argentina
sharing the last loaf of bread for this week
counting candles left in case the power goes out.
It doesn’t matter that you have children.
You live in the wrong place
and now is your chance to run
to nowhere.
It doesn’t matter
that 58 seconds isn’t long enough
to find your wedding album
or your son’s favorite blanket
or your daughter’s almost completed college application
or your shoes
or to gather everyone in the house.
It doesn’t matter what you had planned.
It doesn’t matter who you are
Prove you’re human.
Prove you stand on two legs.


by Lena K Tuffaha

I believe this is what we call ironic

When a video against Israeli propaganda and advocating Palestinian resistance has (google) ads at the end for 'Israeli Law' (Litigation, Commercial, Diplomatic Serving Governments and Businesses), and for 'Israel private tour guides', for customized tours to discover Israel’s secret addresses and tips.



Yes, I believe that’s what we call ironic.