Source: Common Dreams
The bombs start again. Israel, as if on a timer, begins to pulverize Gaza. The bombs strike from one end of the country to another, a warning against the protests that have been ongoing for a year. There is a shudder from Gaza, phone calls to friends who say that they are fearful that this bombing run will escalate. Nothing is beyond Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, who will use these bombs as an advertisement for his campaign to be reelected as Israel goes to the polls on April 9. The phone lines carry the sound of scared children and anxious adults, a building demolished, the warplanes shrieking overhead.
Abu Artema’s Birds
In January of last year, the Palestinian journalist Ahmed Abu Artema sat at his computer in his home in Rafah (Gaza, Palestine). He had just returned home from a walk in this 365-square-kilometer (141-square-mile) enclave that sits on the Mediterranean Sea. There is a hint of paradise in Gaza—the sea on one side, the citrus groves on the other. But the entire piece of land—populated by 2.2 million Palestinians—is hemmed in by the Israeli occupation. The land is dotted with barbed wire fences and ditches, with armed guards on alert to shoot where and when they will, and the sea is patrolled by Israeli naval vessels, which routinely stop and arrest Palestinian fishermen. Paradise is encircled by barbed wire and gunboats. Abu Artema decided to write a plea.
“No one stopped the birds,” he thought during his walk as he saw a flock of birds fly across the perimeter fence. The Israeli occupation, he felt, “clips my wings” and “disrupts my evening walks.” What if a Palestinian from Gaza decided to “see himself as a bird and decides to reach a tree beyond the fence,” he mused? “If the bird was Palestinian, he would be shot.”
So, this journalist—a father of four young children—wrote the following simple question: “What would happen if thousands of Gazans, most of them refugees, attempted to peacefully cross the fence that separated them from their ancestral lands?” The answer, plainly, was that they would be shot.