Saving our humanity from the rubble of Gaza

Saving our humanity from the rubble of Gaza

Ladies and gentlemen, every morning we wake up and a new horrific image comes to us from Gaza. Wild dogs devouring the corpses of Gazans killed at Al-Shifa hospital. The body of a Palestinian tied to a rope and dragged by an Israeli military vehicle not far from Zikim Beach. Palestinian workers forced to strip and tortured. Today, it is the video of an Israeli tank crushing the corpse of a Palestinian civilian.

Dear listeners, I am a clinical psychiatrist and have worked for a long time with mental health professionals in Gaza. But I am not here to tell you about the unimaginable impact of genocide on the mental health of Palestinians, nor to make the Palestinian sumud a romantic reality.

I am here to warn you of the impending collapse of our common sense of humanity.

As a Palestinian deprived of citizenship and currently facing an unprecedented level of Israeli repression in Jerusalem and the West Bank, I appeal to your universal principles as human beings to help us expose the heartbreaking reality of Gaza – a place scarred by one of the darkest chapters in history.

The relentless atrocities committed in Gaza stain the conscience of humanity, leaving an indelible mark on our ability to relate to one another as human beings.

Genocidal intent

Since the first day of this war, Israeli political figures have spoken, in a spirit of vengeance, of crushing Gaza and deporting its residents.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant described Gazans as “animals” and President Isaac Herzog said they were all complicit in the acts committed on October 7.

These acts have been compared to September 11 and Palestinian resistance fighters assimilated to Daesh, as if the events of October 7 marked the beginning of our history.

These events are presented while obscuring eight decades of occupation and repression of Palestinians and twenty years of imprisonment in Gaza, the largest contemporary concentration camp.

Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahy has already considered that dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza was an “option”.

Baseless lies about the beheading of Israeli babies and mass rapes are invented to turn the world against Gaza and legitimize the massacre of civilians.

Dear audience, Israeli aerial bombardments have not stopped during these thirty-seven days of war. Gazan losses in this month alone exceed the total number of Ukrainian losses since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Women and children represent 70% of Palestinian victims.

Take the time to digest this information – this is not just a statistic, but chilling evidence of an intention to target the most vulnerable.

Medical personnel, journalists and civil defense forces are also targeted.

We watch people try to rescue family members trapped under rubble with their bare hands, hear about doctors operating without anesthesia and premature babies dying from oxygen cutoff in hospitals.

But many Gazans use their phones to communicate their suffering to the world: we cannot pretend we didn’t know.

For a month, the broadcast and live coverage of these massacres have forced the world to witness this horror, leaving no room for any ambiguity as to the identity of those responsible.

These massacres shock our moral conscience all the more because they are committed with the unwavering support of the main Western regimes – the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy.

The contempt for Palestinian lives expressed by their political and military authorities, as well as by traditional Western media, contradicts the values ​​that these nations claim to defend.

This contempt, however, reveals the underlying racism and colonial mentality of these Western regimes.

The infamous siege of Sarajevo offers a striking comparison. At the time, the bombing of the Markale market, which caused forty-three casualties, led to decisive NATO action against Serbian forces. While, following Israel’s bombing of the Al-Ahli Baptist hospital, which caused the death of five hundred civilians, Biden hypocritically declared to Netanyahu: “It seems that this is the other’s doing team. »

And Gaza is left to die of hunger, thirst, darkness and lack of medical equipment.

Since 1948, the actions of the State of Israel have consistently violated international law. Protected by the unconditional support of the United States, Israel considers itself unaccountable.

And yet, these crimes against Palestinians, supported by the West, constitute not only a violation of the law, but also a betrayal of our common humanity.

The deliberate offensive of the Israeli government and army, which feeds on an unjustified feeling of exceptionalism and revenge, is not only crushing Gaza: I see in each building that collapses, the moral collapse of the international community.

Dear comrades, as we know it, Gaza, wounded, suffering, in tears and feeling betrayed, Gaza will one day rise from the rubble and look us in the eyes. Perhaps she will question us about our role; perhaps she will forgive us as she has often done before and continue to face the international order alone.

The urgency today is to revive our dying humanity, which has failed to preserve Gazan lives, to arouse compassion and to restore the values ​​that define us as human beings.

Let us save what remains of our humanity from the rubble of Gaza.

Samah Jabr is a physician-psychiatrist and practices in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. She is currently responsible for the Mental Health Unit within the Palestinian Ministry of Health. She has taught at Palestinian and international universities. Dr. Jabr is a frequent consultant to international organizations on mental health development. She is also a prolific female writer.
Her latest book published in French: Behind the Fronts – Chronicles of a Palestinian psychiatrist and psychotherapist under occupation.

November 30, 2023 – Tramsmis by Alexandra Dols