To better understand what’s going on in the Gaza Strip, I wanted to find some point of reference to help myself understand the size of the area that’s being targeted by the Israeli military.
I live in a pretty small state, so I wanted to see how the Gaza Strip matched up size-wise with Delaware.
Even though we’re the second smallest state in the U.S., it’s no where close. We’re still nearly 18 times larger than the Gaza Strip geographically speaking.
OK, so I thought maybe New Castle County would be somewhat comparable to the size of Gaza since our county is by far the smallest in our tiny state.
Nope. New Castle is still about three times larger than Gaza.
My next guess was nearly spot on, though.
Philadelphia, the fifth largest city in the United States, has about the same land area as Gaza: 369 square kilometers to Gaza’s 365.
Now imagine hitting over 1300 targets with one of the most powerful militaries in the world in the city of Philadelphia.
Yeah, neither can I.
The struggle of the Palestinian people to assert their own statehood and their right to exist is nothing new from a historical perspective.
For the last 500+ years, Europe and the Western world has permitted itself the privilege of deciding what does or doesn’t constitute statehood, and along with it the right to self-determination and the right to exist.
This is how Europe justified the genocide it committed in the Americas.
The West permits itself the same privilege today. You can see this when characters like Newt Gingrich are running around calling the Palestinians “an invented people” – as if he’s trying to give Eddie Izzard new material for his stand-up routines.
There are parallels between what’s going on today in Gaza and Palestine and the atrocities, for example, committed against Africans in the United States or the atrocities that Germany and Vichy France committed against the Jewish people in the Holocaust.
The first step to genocide and other like atrocities is denying the personhood of the targeted group. So white Americans, for example, told themselves that Africans aren’t really human. White Americans relied on fake science that turned other races into caricatures that we could denigrate and consider as “demonstrably” inferior to themselves. Germany under Hitler did something comparable to the Jewish people of Europe – blaming them for their economic woes and depicting them as a pest, a subhuman group that needed to be exterminated.
Today, the West is doing the same thing to Palestine by vilifying the people of Palestine as terrorists, by claiming that they have no legitimacy in self-determination because they are “an invented people”.
Obviously the cases are all different – and you could draw parallels elsewhere with a hundred other instances. But the pattern is always the same: In order to exterminate or subjugate, you must first denigrate. The Palestinians just happen to be the latest.
Somewhere around 40 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting over the last few days. How many more need to die before Israel is satisfied? How long will the U.S. sit on its hands and look the other way?
Imagine if Mitt Romney were president right now. He would be offering troops and air support.
Do anything you can, do everything you can – though there is nothing we can do.
I’ve been searching for petitions to sign to ease my conscience, to reassure myself that there are others outraged by what’s going on in Gaza right now. The heart-break is too much.
And while the world takes sides, our most naive hopes are the most sincere. I certainly don’t wish for Israel to fail – but I also certainly weep for Palestine.
There are two people going after one another. You see one throwing stones while they try not to get mowed down by a rocket launcher.
And which side do you choose?