Palestinians and the world must not lose hope

Palestinians and the world must not lose hope

Exhaustion and exhaustion syndromes await those who mobilize against the genocide that Israel is committing in Gaza. This is the result of this “war of attrition” that Israel is waging.

When we Palestinians told the world what was happening in early October, our testimonies and predictions were seen as exaggerations.

Our warnings about Israel's overwhelming and terrifying enthusiasm for excessive violence were not taken seriously. Worse, our warnings that Israel was preparing to commit mass killings against Palestinians were branded “anti-Semitic.”

Today, official statistics speak of 33,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza and the West Bank by Israeli airstrikes with made-in-USA bombs, artillery shelling and summary executions. This figure does not take into account either the “disappeared” people who remained under the rubble, nor those murdered in the street or in their homes by the occupation soldiers, nor those buried under the sand by their bulldozers.

And while Gaza is on the front line facing Israel's immense violence, Palestinians in the West Bank are being arrested by the thousands, including children, most without the slightest trial. They are held in detention in undignified and appalling conditions, which have caused the deaths of at least 13 Palestinian prisoners over the past 6 months.

As for Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians in Jerusalem, they experience an ordeal under Israel's draconian apartheid laws: controlled, detained, tortured, or attacked by Israeli groups for simply sharing a post on social media or having consulted what Israel calls “terrorist media”.

If I had to describe the last 26 weeks, I'd say I've just been trying to get through each hour. I kept asking myself: what is the point of writing yet another article about Israel's relentless sadism?

Between the time the idea for this article germinated and the time I found the strength to write it, more than 3,000 Palestinian children, women and men were killed. The Al-Shifa medical complex was completely destroyed and extrajudicial killings in the West Bank have only intensified.

Propagating a feeling of numbness, of paralysis among the Palestinians is one of the objectives of the Israeli strategy of attrition. A war of attrition is a war which aims to create the conditions necessary to drain the adversary of his energy, exhaust him and weaken him. It aims to reduce the ability to respond.

Israel's goal is the emotional, moral and mental exhaustion of those who resist its occupation and colonization: to make these people lose their motivation and determination to engage and mobilize in the face of brutal repression. .

This strategy is also at work in “peacetime”. In line with the European colonialists and their logic of pacification, Israel sought to subjugate the Palestinian population by making their lives impossible at all levels. While feeding the world with the fallacious narrative based on its “self-defense,” Israel has attempted to create a moribund Palestinian: not necessarily dead, but always on the brink, constantly forced to choose between death and torture.

I don’t think I will ever be able to fully explain what it’s like to be a Palestinian – with all the shades of bruises we carry. And it is not because I lack words, but rather because I realized that if I spoke about the atrocities suffered, I could not be sure that those who listened to me would bear to hear all the pain that characterizes the Palestinian experience.

Over the past 182 days, Palestinians have been plunged into waves of deep mourning, searing pain and paralyzing fear of anticipated loss. Chills of terror remain stuck in our spine, unable to escape, just like ourselves.

One of the most trying aspects of this attack is having to deal with this grief. So many people we know have been killed, arrested or displaced. Palestinians have suffered not only physical displacement, but also psychological displacement; our mental and emotional anchors have been shifted. It is an unbearable pain to continually witness the different ways in which Palestinian bodies can be transformed into lifeless bodies.

It is not possible to bury the bodies killed, nor to collectively mourn our losses, not only material but also emotional: the destroyed homes, the destroyed memories and the shattered hope that we had gathered to live.

Continual exposure to Israel's unyielding psychopathy breeds a collective sense of exhaustion, not only among the population still trying to survive Israel's massacre, but also among those mobilizing to put a stop to it. end to a genocide still in progress as I write these words.

The exhaustion is real. Too many of us are too exhausted to say anything, to resist the disillusionment that our voices don't matter and can't achieve anything. While we are left with these overwhelming emotions and despair, the war continues and the scale of atrocities continues to grow.

And all this does not only apply to us, the Palestinians in Palestine. This impacts those around the world who are rising up against the genocide. Israel responds to globalized resistance with ever more massacres, such as the recent assassination of international aid workers, and with ever more lobbying for those who criticize it to be punished.

Governments refusing to act to stop the massacre, those mobilizing against the genocide are victims of slow neutralization strategies, relegated to the inability to act, to despair and to the conviction that nothing can stop Israel .

In May 2021, when Palestinians were in the midst of one of the largest revolts in decades, showing true unity from Gaza to the West Bank and the 48 territories, as well as in the diaspora, I wrote an article for The Guardian entitled “Why are Palestinians protesting?” – Because we want to live. »

I wrote it on my phone while caught between the tear gas thrown by Israeli soldiers, whom I was fleeing, and the brutal beatings by Palestinian Authority security forces, to which I narrowly escaped.

These were brutal, terrifying, defining moments. In the article, I tried to grasp the strategy of colonialism: “That's what colonialism does: it stifles every aspect of your life and ultimately bury you. »

I was not trying to describe the profile of a killer, but rather to capture this moment characterized by an attitude of defiance and unity found between Palestinians, from the river to the sea, and within the diaspora.

“This is a strategic and carefully considered process, it is only hindered or delayed because the oppressors are almost always attacked and challenged by those under their yoke. “, I wrote then.

Indeed, over the last decades, Israel has not failed to be challenged by the Palestinians, who have constantly revolted against its policies of repression: from one revolt to another, from the non-violence to diplomacy, then to armed resistance. The struggle of the Palestinian people has intensified as the Israeli conquest of Palestinian lands, resources and lives has intensified.

For the past 6 months, Israel and its supporters have sought to erase history and context and present October 7 as a brutal and “unjustified” attack on Israel. The reality is that on October 7, a people asphyxiated by decades of colonialism and oppression used their last breath to refuse the impossible choice between death and torture imposed on them and thus challenge the world.

Perhaps this is precisely what really shocked Israel and its allies on October 7. What sparked Israel's ire was that the Palestinians were still breathing after decades of colonial pacification.

Understand this: what stands between our eradication and our survival is you, the global community. When Israel unleashed its genocidal force against us, it involved the rest of the world.

It is international commitment that makes the genocide perpetrated by Israel possible. Israel uses weapons supplied by foreign governments. These same governments guarantee his impunity, preventing him from being held accountable for his crimes.

Admit it: the Palestinians are not yet buried, and while the destruction is massive, so are the number of survivors. Survivors who have dreams to realize, who must witness miracles, and who must restore faith in humanity.

Amid all this destruction, there is life, and the Palestinians are waging an extraordinary fight for it.

Mariam Barghouti is a Palestinian American author based in Ramallah.

Source: Al Jazeera

CRD translation