A heartfelt plea is made. The Cry of Our Children.
Our people, men, women and children, are suffering, psychologically and physically.
How should one react? How would you react?
One option would be to walk away, ignore the plea, pretend you didn’t hear..
But of course, you would say to yourself, I will bravely, unhesitatingly, do whatever is necessary. No one, especially no child, anywhere should suffer.
What if nobody else reacted? Would you still take a stand?
What if there were a price to pay? What if helping made you unpopular , even very unpopular. What if you sensed that there is a prevailing atmosphere of fear of even acknowledging the plea for help? You would soon be aware that you would be on your own. You certainly wouldn’t get any help from the pillars of society: political, academic, religious, media. Would you still take a stand?
Umm. Not sure.
Why am I writing this? What am I really thinking about?
Palestinian Christian leaders have issued a heartfelt plea for non-violent help from the outside world. The situation facing the Palestinians, all Palestinians, is desperate. The leaders call on “the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades.”
They could have added, “and being lied about”.
The cruelty inflicted on all Palestinians is obscene, including in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Israel itself. In the West Bank, farmers are being denied access to their land and their water sources. Palestinians face constant violence from heavily armed Israeli soldiers, police and ‘settlers’. Children are kidnapped from their homes in the middle of the night by Israeli IDF. East Jerusalem Palestinians are being squeezed out. In Israel, Bedouin villages that existed and paid taxes before there even was an Israel, are being destroyed to be replaced by Jewish only settlements.
But in Gaza the situation is even worse . Noam Chomsky has described Israeli control over Gaza as ‘sadistic.’ Israeli historian Ilan Pappé has said, ‘incremental genocide’. The UN has said that Gaza will be unliveable by 2020.
The Church leaders emphasise the urgency, the vital need for action NOW, by invoking the Greek work kairos. The Greeks had 2 words for time, chronos being chronological time and kairos meaning the propitious moment for immediate action.
Hence, the Palestinian Kairos Declaration.
We Hear the Cry of Our Children.
“There is still no justice in our land! Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule. Today, we stand in front of an impasse and we have reached a deadlock. Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leaders’ callings – Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality. Humanly speaking – we have reached the “moment of impossible”.
The plea is made for international solidarity.
“We need you and we need you now more than ever. We need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy.“
Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, speaking at the Washington Press Club in 2018 gave 3 reasons, 3 core values of Israeli culture, to explain why Israel won’t reform without external pressure: 1) “We are the chosen people , 2) We are the victims, the only victims, 3) The Palestinians are not equal human beings like us”.
What do the Kairos writers, the Christian Palestinian leaders, want us to do?
They ask for 3 things:
1) Learn more by reading and going to meetings and then be unafraid to share widely what you learn.
2) Learn about the non-violent BDS movement , boycott, divest, sanctions.
3) Come and See: ie, visit us, witness and learn first-hand the reality of what life is like .
Now will you take a stand or are you still wavering?
Umm..Let me think about it.
Well, let me quote 2 highly respected humanitarians.
“Cowardice asks the question – is it safe? Expediency asks the question – is it politic? Vanity asks the question – is it popular? But conscience asks the question – is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.” Dr. Martin Luther King
“The abuses the Palestinians face are real and no person should be offended by principled, morally consistent, non-violent acts to oppose them. It is no more wrong to call out Israel in particular for its abuses than it was to call out the Apartheid regime in South Africa in particular for its abuses.” Bishop Desmond Tutu
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor:” Bishop Desmond Tutu
There is no innocence. Which side are you on?
Lois Griffiths is a human rights activist