In the age of social media images and videos are accessible to virtually anyone anywhere on the planet instantaneously. This has made it increasingly difficult for brutal regimes to hide their crimes. We see this in Aleppo, Syria and Donetsk, Ukraine; and we see this in Gaza today. One of the prevailing justifications given for Israel’s murderous assault on the captive population of Gaza has been self-defense. But this photograph shatters that story like glass.
Israel’s continued narrative of perpetual victim is beginning to fray. It was an implausible notion to begin with given that it enjoys lavish support from one of the most powerful nations on the planet. Nevertheless, the hawks of war continue to play this worn out old record. It is all they have left in their tattered bag of moral excuses.
It is the oft repeated tale of empire. Empathy is not afforded to the uprooted indigenous and the ethnically cleansed. They are stripped of their humanity and categorized as a “demographic problem.” Any resistance, even if it is non-violent, is painted as terrorism. And any characteristic that shows them as a caring parent, or a child full of wonder, or a young couple in love, is ignored or marginalized. The colonial settler, prodded on by the empire, is cast as a victim against savages.
But as daybreak casts its light on the pulverized remains of an oppressed and brutalized people, the excuses are being exposed for the shameless lies that they are. The ruins of Gaza attest to the farce of self-defense. From the bombed out hospitals and universities to the graves of children who were executed for committing the crime of playing football on a beach, the jingoistic infused rhetoric of the powerful is more and more sounding like an absurd joke. Only no one with a conscience is laughing.
Kenn Orphan 2014
(photo: Khuzaa, Gaza/AP)