Everything is so predictable!

What difference does a rally make? Even a noisy and well-attended rally in mid-town Manhattan where we gathered to protest Israel’s bombardment of Gaza?

(Rally in midtown Manhattan August 8, 2022)

Everything is so predictable. The “precision” missiles and airstrikes killing “terrorists” in Gaza along with scores of innocent children. Just witness 2008-09, 2012, 2014, 2021 and now again, the latest operation (Operation Breaking Dawn) began August 5th.

Everything is so predictable. The crude, home-made rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, and Israel’s Iron Dome knocking the vast majority of them out of the sky.

Everything is so predictable. U.S. officials spout the “Israel has a right to defend itself” bullshit to provide an excuse for the inexcusable, and urge both sides to “restore calm” while at the same time arming Israel’s military. A grotesque picture comes to mind — a master telling a slave to lay still and take the abuse and rape calmly.

(Rally in midtown Manhattan, August 8, 2022)

Everything is so predictable. An army of social media activists frantically try to wake up the world to what’s happening (again) in Gaza with hashtags like “GazaUnderAttack”. Israel has its own social media activists trying to reframe the damaging reality and cleanse Israel’s reputation from all the spilt blood.

(Rally in midtown Manhattan, August 8, 2022)

Everything is so predictable. I’m debating whether attending another rally is worth my time and effort. It’s hot and humid in NYC. Holding my sign “I stand with Gaza” really makes no difference in the big scheme of things. I write letters to Secretary Blinken, to President Biden, to the local newspaper, but even those small gestures feel so futile.

Then the unpredictable happened!

I arrived at the rally and was handed a picture of Mohammed Salah Naijm, 17 years old, one of 46 Palestinian martyrs, including 16 children since Friday. I don’t know Mohammed or his family but tears welled up and I was filled with grief. A week ago, Mohammed was going through the routine of a difficult life in Gaza with some expectation of a future. Israel took his dreams, his hopes and future away. He had survived each of Israel’s military operations (2008-09, 2012, 2014 and 2021) and likely believed he would survive another.

I held Mohammed’s picture and saw others holding pictures of child victims. At that moment, I realized that I don’t attend these predictable rallies to change the world or to “educate” Americans about our complicity in these atrocities. I don’t attend these rallies to express anger or outrage, although I feel both.

I attend rallies such as this one to stand in solidarity with the victims and their families. To share their grief and to let them know they’re not alone. If I could travel to Gaza and stand with them in person, I would. But my spirit is with them. Today and forevermore.

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