Once Upon a Time Palestinian Children Were Killed in a School Bus Crash..etc.. Praying For More.. etc..
Once upon a time there were ten cute kids aged between 4-6. Those kids woke up on Thursday Feb 16th, 2012 not knowing what God’s plan is for them. They were super excited to go to school which is never usual for kids of their age, but the school had set this date as a school picnic day. – No wonder, this explains their excitement! But again their excitement was not fulfilled on such a stormy and rainy morning that forced the bus driver to return back to school. One can think of how those kids were feeling when they knew that their excursion was cancelled and they were to go back to school. No one knew at that moment that the feeling of disappointment was going to be the kid’s eventual feeling before the sentiment of the agony of their innocent and guiltless souls leaving their fragile delicate bodies when a truck collided with school bus, causing it to slip and catch fire, resulting in the death of the ten children and leaving more than 30 people injured. The end of the story was No “ Happily Ever After”.
I am not writing this post to actually report what had happened because simply if any one was interested, he would simply go online and check whatever news he likes since what happened is still all over the internet. I am writing this post because I got sickened of myself since I, unfortunately, belong to this heartless category of living-things which happened to be called “ HUMAN”.
After reading the sad news about the accident, I was on my Facebook checking the News Feed till I was shocked with a picture many of my friends shared on their pages. Well, to make a long story short, here is the picture I am talking about:
Blood and death and murder and bus crashes and children dying and more children critically injured coming all in one free package labeled with “Palestinians” is what those people, whom I refuse to call humans, pray for to start a “good” weekend! “Pray for deaths or at least critically injured.” Reading this comment, I could not help it but wonder what kind of God they would actually address their prayers for? Is He a God that enjoys the blood of pure souls? Or is He a God that queries people to spread abhorrence and ruthlessness? I would really appreciate an answer that would satisfy my curiosity! I believe that prayers are the purest thing one can perform; they are the untainted soul transcending to its creator, but such people who would use the completest thing in life as a mean of cursing others can never be looked at as “humans”. If God were one who welcomes such brutal manners, then from here, I would like to announce myself as a misotheist, anti-theist, and a misanthropist- Yes, all of them in one package that would be fully filled with hatred, grudge, antipathy, and loathing.
The comments those Israelis had written left me disgusted to the extreme. I had that ugly groan drawn on my face moving from a comment to the other. I really wanted to see one of them leaving a comment that would look like “ May God bless the souls of those children.” Or “ no innocent soul deserves a prayer of death.” Inopportunely, that seemed to be way far from human’s league. No one with a heart that beats for love and peace would wish for more blood to make their weekend or day unless they are desensitized.
Honestly speaking, I was really sickened with the Israeli’s comments; however, I was not even a bit startled. Simply, I expect a lot of Israelis to react in this way just like I expect a lot of Palestinians to react in the same exact way if the bus were full of Israeli kids, even though Islam as a religion has absolutely no relation with such an attitude since it actually forbids militant to murder elderlies, women, and children. It was ironically funny seeing some Palestinians commenting back on the picture where it shows how the Israelis reacted to the news of the bus crash. The reason I thought it was weirdly funny is because some were saying, “ Damn them. Hope that would happen to their kids if that is what they want for our kids.” Then I remembered how many times I heard Muslims praying for the destruction of America and Israel in the Masjids (Mosques) and how many of those who claim being religious despise others of different religions and would also love to see Israeli kids dead. How many of my friends and people I know would be also celebrating the news if the bus were full of Israeli kids. For some reason Mahatma Gandhi’s words popped up in my mind “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. I so think that this is exactly what is happening now with people all over the world and especially once it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. There is no possible way to compare the casualties between both Palestinians and Israelis since the number of those murdered or injured by Palestinians is nothing compared to those on the Palestinian side, but again that is not the point. One or thousands, no one has the right to end the life of an armless civilian no matter what his religion, color, nationality, and beliefs are. We are NO GOD to terminate the dreams of any human that is breathing. If suicide is considered to be a crime in most religions, then, with no doubts, killing others is even a worse crime. Suicide is Haram, banned, outlawed, taboo, and a NO NO while it is one’s decision to kill him/herself so what should be said about one’s decision to kill others?? If no one has the right to end his own life, then how in the world would any of us have the right to end other’s lives? How in the world do we suppose that God would accept a prayer of killing and spreading hatred and blood? How in the world is God supposed to like bloodshed? How in the world do those merciless people come to call themselves religious? What God do they actually pray for? One thing I am so damn sure of is that all religions are to make us better people and no religion would allow this much of hatred or any of this hatred in the first place.
I am left with nothing to say but a pure prayer to God to replace all of this hatred and war with love and peace so we can all live as one people under one sky no matter how many religions, races, and colors we are. I am only left with a prayer to the one who created the entire humanity to send us a cure to end the contagious desensitization we are all suffering. Maybe, just maybe, we can go back to being humans once again. Amen.
By: Hala Alsafadi
a. Invasion, conquest, and control of a nation or territory by foreign armed forces.
b. The military government exercising control over an occupied nation or territory.
However, Occupation to Palestinians has a total different definition than that in the dictionaries, for it means Humiliation and Suffering and Victims and Dark Nights and Funerals and Bloodshed and Injustice and Tyranny and Isolation and Destruction and Homesickness and Alienation and Wars and Aggression and Violence and Siege and Inhumanity and Imprisonment and Death.
He knew exactly what occupation means without the need of going back to the pages of dictionaries in order to double check. He actually knew that the definition found in the dictionary does not satisfy him.
He was a young man with a dream of living a “normal” life just like all other “normal” people all over the globe who think that occupation cannot be defined in better words than those found in the dictionary.
He was born in June 19th, 1970 in the city of Gaza in a family consisting of four members and his widowed mother. He never got to know his father, for he was martyred when He was five. Even though He was the youngest, his dreams were the hugest dreams among all his siblings. He believed in himself and knew He can do whatever He sets his mind to. All one needed to do in order to get to know him more was to look into his eyes. Doing that would be enough to figure out how honest, smart, and ambitious He was. He succeeded in achieving many of his goals; however, how long can happiness, satisfaction, and success last in a place where occupation existed?
Sooner than He thought, everything He built started to be wiped out right in front of his eyes while He was moving through his life motionless, speechless, and helpless. The Israeli Occupation did, indeed, destroy that ambitious man and shatter all his dreams. The man who was looking forward to his future and life hopelessly turned his back to life knowing that He is left mentally dead, and physically vulnerable.
1. An effort to cut off food, supplies, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally.
2. The isolation of a nation, area, city, or harbor by hostile ships or forces in order to prevent the entrance and exit of traffic and commerce.
To Palestinians, Blockade, categorically, is way more than “no food, cars, internet and mobile connections, and construction supplies.” To Him, it meant unemployment, loans, debts, loss, and loneliness. The supplies He needed as an engineer in his construction work were cut off for more than three years; therefore, He could not do any work. Thus, he gave up on many of the signed contracts. Eventually, He was unemployed and started to lose all his work contracts, therefore, became broke. He did not give up, yet. He never thought that He would end up in such a way. He decided to take a loan so that He would be able to start over from scratch and work again. But the blockade does not really care for those who try to start over, for occupation does not have mercy. He kept on losing more money till He ended up in more debts that any time before. (more…)
By: Hala Alsafadi
I am so sorry that you were killed in an inhumane way while you were always telling us to stay Humans. I am sorry that you had to go through this.
No one really knows who killed you. No one knows why you were killed. No one knows why you are not among us right not. But everyone knows that you are more Palestinian than any of us. Everyone knows that you are in a better place now, a place full of peace, justice, and humanity just like the Gazan-Utopia you always wanted for us.
Vik, you are in heaven while your murders are to be burn in hell. You were killed in cold blood, but your blood is not cheap to any of us. We will always demand the blood of those who killed you.
Vik, I wish you can see how much people love you. I wish you can see how all Gazans are hurt for losing you. Kids, girls, women, and men are crying over your death. I wish you can sign in to your facebook account and see how many posts and people are talking about you as the hero of Palestine and a hero of the entire humanity. Everyone is having you as their profile picture on their facebook accounts. All the statuses are about you. Ahmad is crying and posting your pictures together. I am watching your videos and staring at every place you used to sit in when you were at our house. The street you used to live in is going to be called “Victor” after your nickname. You know what? The next flotilla of boats that will set sail to break the siege of Gaza will be named FREEDOM FLOTILLA – STAY HUMAN in memory of you, Vittorio Arrigoni.
Victor, I am sure that the ones who killed you are not true Palestinians. I know that there are missing parts from the puzzle of your murder. I just hope that you were as strong as you always were till the very last moment of your life. I hope that you knew that those dirty hands which kidnapped you are not even close to the Gazan people who you loved and whom loved you back.
You always wanted Palestine to be free. You always wanted to draw an end to the injustice. And we promise you to do our best to continue what you started.
We all love you, Vik!
By: Hala Alsafadi
On the behalf of many Gazans, I am deeply sorry that some heartless Gazans are treating you this way. We are ashamed of those Gazans.
Upon hearing the news of the abduction of Vittorio Utopia Arrigoni, the Italian Journalist and humanitarian in Gaza, I could not help it but start crying. I remembered him coming over to our house many times before. He is my brother’s best friend who actually turned out to be a family friend. Everyone loves him in my family, for he is a person who makes you proud.
Vittorio or let me call him with his nickname “ Vik” came to Gaza as a young man who decided to devote himself for the Palestinian case. He is considered a “terrorist” by Israel and was actually forced to leave Gaza once before; however, he made it back again to Gaza through the tunnels. He is a pure humanitarian who insists on letting people know the real misery and situation in Gaza. Vik is not just a journalist that is in Gaza seeking the truth, but he is also a part of Gaza and Gazans. He has done many things for the sake of Gaza more than pure Gazans. I cannot forget how he has always made of himself a human shield by joining the farmers in the buffer zones that get shot by Israelis almost every day. He has always joined the Gazan fishermen who might get shot by Israeli boats in the sea anytime. He was ready to die for us. He was ready to die for Palestine. He was ready to die for Gaza. Is that how we are supposed to pay him back?
I will not be exaggerating when I say that almost everyone in Gaza LOVES Vik, even the waiters in coffee shops and restaurants talk about him and love him, for he is always friendly to everyone. Whenever he is there, people just love him. Vik is as Gazan as I am and he deserves to be among us free. He has offered Gaza many things more that those who kidnapped him. I myself envy him every time I see him, for he is way better than me and he is actually doing many things for my country and for humanity that I myself cannot do. He is one of the best people I have ever got to know. You do not find many people who are ready to give up living in peace and decide to live among Gazans who suffer on a daily basis from the Israeli closure, killing, and destruction. This guy left his family, friends, and country behind him in order to live in Gaza and help Gazans. I refuse to address him as a journalist since he is a journalist and first of all a HUMANITARIAN in an age where humanity does not exist no more.
The Salafist organization in Gaza is not speaking on the behalf of Gazans. Islam does not approve what they are doing. Those Salafists are ruining the image of Islam and Palestinians. They are not reflecting who we really are.
If anyone would give it a second thought, one would realize that those ignorant barbarous animals are giving all reasons to Israel to declare war on Gaza. They are just making it easier for Israel to accuse Gazans of being “terrorists”, therefore, win the European and American sympathy once and for all.
Gazans are against what is happening to Vittorio right now. We all demand his release. We want him back among us. We are all angry and we will go down to the streets demanding his release and the punishment of those ugly creatures that kidnapped him.
Sorry for any misspellings or grammatical errors, but I am just writing whatever comes to my mind without giving it a second thought – so excuse me.
By: Hala Alsafadi
After I was done with my classes for today, I went to Remal with a friend. There, I ran into one of my friends who actually told me that they had organized a university students’ demonstration today calling for the end of the division. I told her how my parents do not want me to participate in the demonstration tomorrow, for they think it is really dodgy. However, she actually told me to do all I can to be there saying “ Hala, you must be there.”
Well, yeah! I so want to be there and I have to come up with a scenario that would allow me to be among the Palestinians who are calling for the end of the division tomorrow. I gave it a little thought and then I knew my plan. I am going to tell my family that I have to go to AMIDEAST to finish up some work tomorrow ( luckily enough, AMIDEAST is in Al Remal Area where the demonstration is going to take place tomorrow). I really do not like to lie to my parents, but I love to consider it a white lie since I would be very mad if I don’t join the demonstration.
So I got back home. I went directly to my mom’s room in hope to persuade her that it will not be that dangerous tomorrow since the Students’ Council in The Islamic University ( The school I go to) is going to be there. With that fake smile I had to put on, I was trying to convince her not to worry about me and that everything is going to be fine tomorrow. Nevertheless, she is a mom after all and she can easily figure out that I was lying. Well, I couldn’t help it but tell her that YES, I want to go and you should not be telling me not to go. Unfortunately, that did make her mad and she actually informed me that my dad is to pick me up as soon as I finish my classes tomorrow. No work + No university after 11 = No way I can go tomorrow. 😦
I left to my room to sleep and try to come up with an excuse that would make my family give me the bright green light. I think that was too hard that I just fell asleep losing hope in stepping outside the house tomorrow.
Once I woke up, I went on Skype to talk to my friend. While we were having a real talk, my mom came to my room asking me if I want to go with her to Al Jundi Square since people had already started demonstrating. Unquestionably, I just felt like my mom wants to see my reaction. I asked her if she was just picking on me, but then my dad told me that if I want to go, I can go! Upon hearing his words, I was beyond happy. I couldn’t believe that they are okey with it now. It felt like I have already won a revolution! I got ready in less than five minutes and I was good to go. I went along with my mother and younger brother who also had stars in his eyes.
As soon as I stepped out of the car and while walking to Al Jundi Square, I felt so proud of being a Palestinian. Songs calling for the end of the division were played very loudly. I looked at the flags people were raising up high, and I could not help it but feel as though I were over the moon, for I couldn’t see one green, yellow, or red flag no more. They were all holding the Palestinian flags regardless the party they belonged to. For the first time in a very long time, people did not seem to care if the person next to them is pro-Hamas, pro-Fateh, or even party-less. Looking at the people did make me so glad that I felt like saying thank you for every single person who was there at that late time at night. Those people who could not wait till the assigned day , March 15th, to demand the end of the division – those people who are now spending the night at Al Jundi Square counting the hours till they witness the big day.
Even though the demonstration was not well-organized, but one can feel that the leaders are trying their best to put it in order. They were trying to give information and set the rules of the big day tomorrow. Hearing that loud voice from a distance, a man was calling for showing unity by not holding any flag other than the Palestinian flag. He said “ Even if we belong to a specific party, let us leave it behind us tonight. We are here as Palestinians and only Palestinians.”
As I was leaving, I looked back at Al Jundi Square with delight. All I could see were the flags of Palestine raised very high in the far sky; all I could hear were angry Palestinians shouting right out loud“ End The Division”; all I could feel was the pride of being a Palestinian.
I hope tomorrow is going to be the day we have been waiting for since June 2007 since Palestinians do really want to draw an end for the division. We are fed up with it and we want it to end. That’s is why we are demonstrating tomorrow. The first step towards a free Palestine is a unitied Palestine, indeed.
- “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
- “The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility.”
- “Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
- “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
- “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
- “The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”
- “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
- “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
- “Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.” (more…)
Saturday, February 26 · 8:00am – 11:30pm
EGYPT/GAZA, RAFAH CROSSING
INTERNATIONAL/EGYPTIAN MARCH to GAZA,RAFAH CROSSING,FEB 26th
Date Feb 26 – START TIME Time: 8 AM
COORDINATOR – UP – PAUL BARROW
COORDINATOR – GAZA – KEN O’KEEFE
COORDINATOR – FB – SAFIYYA NOOR
RIDE TO GAZA
PAOLA DYBOSKI RESEARCH CONSULTANT