Since Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza, a captive population in what is the world’s biggest open air prison, there have been scores of heartbreaking stories that have emerged from the Strip. For the medical staff at Al-Shifa hospital there is barely a lull between patients flooding their corridors, bloody, screaming and near death. But through it all these devoted staff members, many of them volunteers, have remained to help the wounded and comfort the bereaved. They do this at great risk to their personal safety. They do it because it is the human thing to do.
Politicians and military generals love to cite tactical statistics and spin their most heinous attacks into word games. “Surgical precision” and “targeted killing” are some of the terms used this time in Gaza. Recently, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Gaza’s dead are “telegenic” meaning they have an “appearance or manner that is appealing on television.” It is difficult to plum the depths of utter depravity in such a comment, but it is a defining characteristic of the kind of person who can justify bombing hospitals, cafes and boys playing football on the beach.
The wordsmiths of organized murder will never understand the courage it takes to remain in a home, or a school, or a hospital even as the bombs are reigning down around them. They will never know how a child’s hand feels as the life drains out of them on a cold, steel stretcher in a crowded corridor. They will never no the crushing sorrow of having to tell a grandmother that her entire family has been killed in one indiscriminate attack. They sit comfortably in leather chairs within the guarded, air conditioned catacombs they call “war rooms.” They are shielded from such visceral experiences by the rhetoric they have carefully constructed to defend their patently indefensible actions.
But in the end their folly will be relegated to the dusty confines of a barely read book, while the warm touch of compassion generously given by a nurse, or doctor, or medic, will be remembered in the most sacred of places; the human heart.
Kenn Orphan 2014
Photo: Wounded Palestinian boy clutches medic, Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza (Photograph: Ezz al-Zanoun/APA images)