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Friday, June 04, 2010

Eyeless in Gaza

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Few other words in the English language can better express how Walski, and much of the world, feels about the attack on the Freedom Flotilla by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

Disturbing, too, though not surprising, is the jamming of communications by the Israelis, in order to prevent any on-site news and images from being heard and viewed by the rest of the world.

Fortunately, technology isn’t always 100% cooperative with those who wish to use it for the purposes of suppressing information. After all, being that we’re in Malaysia, we’re all too familiar with attempts at obfuscating information, aren’t we? 
(the events, the outrage, what you can do, and more, in the full post)

There are, of course, now conflicting reports over what actually happened. Wikipedia has a good compilation of events and background information, gathered from various sources. The Israeli forces version of the event say that they were defending themselves from activists armed with iron rods. Activists say that the IDF opened fire as soon as the forces boarded.

As Walski has mentioned more than once in the past, there are n + 1 sides to every story, where n represents the number of parties involve. The + 1 is what actually happened. And in this case, we either will never know, or won’t for a long time.

Wikipedia also has a page about the Gaza Blockade itself, which you can peruse if you’re not very clear as to why the Freedom Flotilla embarked on their journey in the first place. Granted, what the IDF did, boarding and pretty much attacking the Mavi Marmara, is inexcusable, as far as Walski is concerned. Particularly since this took place in international waters. The outrage against Israel is understandable.

But why no outrage against Egypt? Particularly from Malaysians. Is it because Egypt is an Islamic country, and purportedly so are we?

Allow Walski to remind you of a couple of things:

  1. Egypt is equally as complicit in the blockade of Gaza - for political reasons (the Wikipedia link about the blockade sort of explains why). In essence, Egypt does not recognize Hamas, which currently controls Gaza.
  2. It’s not about religion – yes, many are of the opinion that it’s about the Jews/Zionists oppression of the Muslims, etc. In truth, the current mess in Gaza has more to do with politics and territory.

So, why no protest against Egypt, which now has changed its mind, and has given permission for aid to get into Gaza through the Rafah crossing. The same report also indicates that Israel has eased up on the blockade as well. One reason, perhaps is the intense international condemnation for the Mavi Mamara attack, and on the part of Egypt, its role in the blockade.

It is now known that the 12 Malaysians who were part of the flotilla are safe, and are probably in Jordan (if not on their way home), after being deported by Israel. That’s heartening to note. What is still disheartening to Walski is the fact that nine persons died, and many others injured. It outrages him.

What is also outrages is that Israel has thus far refused to release all the media materials related to the attack. All that has “officially” been released is the one minute, or so, footage of the Israeli forces rappelling aboard the vessel (via OpEd News). No one knows for sure, apart from accounts from the activists on board, what happened before and after the boarding.

That the IDF personnel were attacked during the boarding, there is no doubt. The videos officially released clearly show that. It’s the rest of the footage that the rest of the world is blind to.

“Eyeless”, so to speak, to the events that transpired aboard a vessel, part of a convoy of ships,  to deliver aid to Gaza, which has been described as a humanitarian disaster by at least a handful of worldwide aid organizations. The world, meanwhile, continues to be angry… Is there anything else that we, as individuals, can do?

Image taken from, hosting by Photobucket is an international online advocacy agency, and they have put together a petition for the UN to carry out a full investigation on the raid, and more importantly, to put an end to the blockade. The petition was put up online on June 1, with the aim of sending it in, once the number of signatories hit 200,000.

That number was achieved in less than 24 hours, and Avaaz has since delivered the first batch of petition signatories in. Just goes to show you how outraged the world at large is.

As of the time of posting, the number has already exceeded 334,500 signatures, with 400,000 being their next target milestone.

Another effort being undertaken by Gaza Freedom March is to invoke their Emergency Response Plan, calling for protests worldwide. The protest in KL is scheduled for this afternoon.

It’s also interesting to note (if one looks at the protest map on GFM’s site) that more than half of the registered protests are in cities across the United States, whose almost carte blanche attitude when it comes to Israel has frequently been scorned. Similarly, if one were to look at the signatures on the Avaaz petition, a large number are from those residing in the US.

We may no longer be blind to what’s going on in the world today, and in that sense, we’re no longer eyeless. Even to the events in Gaza, no matter how hard the attempts to suppress truth and information are. And with the knowledge of what’s going on comes rage. Which sometimes gets so bad, it’s almost blinding.

Let’s put that rage to good, productive use… not as a weapon of destruction, but as a tool towards a peaceful, final outcome – a nation for those who’ve waited far too long on the sidelines, formed without taking anything away from anyone else.

Walski’s obscure band reference post title footnote: Some of you music aficionados out there may recognize that the post title refers to a rather obscure British music group, Eyeless in Gaza, who in turn borrowed their name from an Aldous Huxley book of the same name. In turn, the title of the 1955 book, is taken from the writing of John Milton. A number of other articles and posts have been written using this uber cool phrase-name. And most, if not all, touch on what’s happening in Gaza. Walski just thought he needed to share this with you.

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