Gaza and Its Civilians

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Miriam, Hamid, and Rebecca at the Park

Rebecca: O.K., we all have our quotes, let’s sit down and see if we have enough for the report.

They walk to the pavilion and get out their papers and books.

Rebecca: You start, Hamid.

Hamid: Well, I chose an article from the New York Times called, Many Civilian Targets, but One Core Question Among Gazans: Why?. Here are the three I ended up with:

“They hit my future with a rocket,” said Muhammad Baroud, one of the students at the Islamic University in Gaza City. “This is a university. What does it have to do with war?”

For Mr. Baroud and his friends, the bombing of the science lab building, which happened in the early days of the Israeli offensive, was a frontal attack on their future. The university is prestigious, and they said they worked hard to get there. It is one of the best medical schools in the region, and Israel recognizes its degrees.

“Are we going to study in a tent?” asked Mr. Baroud’s friend, Ahmed.


The issue, in part, is about the very nature of Hamas. Gazans say that there is a range of relationships people have with the group, starting with sympathizer and ending with rocket launcher or suicide bomber. Just because someone likes Hamas does not mean that that person is necessarily working for the group, Gazans say.

Rebecca: Are there quotes in the article from the Israelis?

Hamid: Yes, do you think we need some of those?

Miriam: I  think so…

Rebecca: Yes.

Hamid: Will do.

Rebecca: Miriam, what do you have?

Miriam: I chose an article from the BBC News called, Gazans confront shattered lives, and I chose different segments from the article woven into one quote:

…for some Gazans even attempting to return home is virtually unimaginable. Amira al-Girim, 15, lies in a hospital bed with her leg in traction. She was found alone, bleeding in a house, about four days after she saw her father killed by an Israeli tank shell in front of her. Her brother and sister died – she thinks in an air strike – as they ran to get help….By the time she was found – she is not sure if it was three or four days later – she hardly knew her own name. But she remembers details…. She says she slept in the street for two days, but then found her way into another house. She had struggled some 500m with a badly broken, bleeding leg, in search of shelter as fighting raged nearby. ABC producer Sami Ziyara, who found Amira with his colleague Imad, said doctors told him she had only a few hours left to live at the point they found her in Imad’s house.

Miriam: That’s it…

Hamid: Powerful…

Rebecca: I think you found something we really need in the report. Is there a picture of her?

Miriam: Yes, here…


Hamid: Poor, poor girl………

Miriam: Rebecca, what do you have?

Rebecca: Well… You guys may think I’ve flipped but I chose a quote of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from page 19 in a book called ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London. It was written in 1911. It’s a spiritual quotation but I think we can use it at the end of the report to drive our points home:

The gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of mankind and of the fundamental oneness of religion. War shall cease between nations, and by the will of God the Most Great Peace shall come; the world will be seen as a new world, and all men will live as brothers.

In the days of old an instinct for warfare was developed in the struggle with wild animals; this is no longer necessary; nay, rather, co-operation and mutual understanding are seen to produce the greatest welfare of mankind. Enmity is now the result of prejudice only.

They went to Miriam’s home, finished the report, and sent an email copy to their teacher…

They got an A…

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9 thoughts on “Gaza and Its Civilians

  1. while watching vids of the flattening of the uni in Gaza. I wondered why there were so many secondairy explosions. not the typical gas line or electric stuff but large ammounts of explosives…… such a place of learning to have rocket fuel stored in the lab?

  2. Dear Alex, this thoughtful post brought tears to my eyes. I so value your desire to know, see and be aware of what is taking place in other parts of the world. I value your concerned and caring heart.

    We who live so far removed from this nightmare-destruction often forget what so much of the pain the world is going through. I hear people say here in the USA (especially in my area) how they want to focus on the positive and reading things like this only drags them down. For me that implies a victim mind set. I feel there is a distinction here: I can understand that it does no one any good that they take in so much negative “news” that they dive into immobilizing depression. Which I saw in someone I knew; they watched the nightly “news”….and then complained about the state of the world, stayed up all night horrified, crying and in shock…and then did nothing about it.

    First off, watching the news 7 days a week for hours on end doesn’t necessarily give us a realistic idea of what is happening in the world. Nor does it necessarily do us any good…or the world any good. Moreover, neither does the other extreme of burying our heads in new-age woo woo and saying, we just have to chant ommmmm, focus on the positive and we will change the world. In other words using that as way to shut out what is going on in the world.

    There is a middle ground….

    We can pick all pray, not over load our emotions with the horrors shown on nightly news, AND pick a “cause” that we feel passionately about and “DO” something to help end suffering for our fellow humans. Action, no matter how small (local or far reaching), can help us connect to the world in the most positive way. We also step away from victim-hood and stand in bold proactivism.

    Hence, we then have positive thinking “in action”. As opposed to only using positive thinking to push away realities we don’t want to know about. OR as opposed to the other extreme of JUST “watching” news and sinking into depression and complaining about the state of the world….but never doing anything about ANYTHING.

    As I said it is so easy for many people who live far from such terror, loss, and devastation to REALLY grasp the suffering of innocent people, people who are just like us. It is a luxury to be somewhat (or completely) insulated from real events of the world. We can bury ourselves in our TVs, computers, restaurants, cars, consumerism and never really grasp with out whole bodies what people the world over are going through, children, moms, dads, grandparents with lives as real as my own.

    Thank you dear Alex for offering me the opportunity to sort through these thoughts. You and Robert over at “In Search of Meaning” have inspired me more than anyone else to put my “positive thinking into ACTION”. I have become a global thinker/feeler. I let in what I see, but I do not allow myself the unnecessary “luxury” of wallowing in depression over the world’s suffering. Instead I choose to stand strong, get involved, reach out and help where I can. The world needs each of us.

    Please forgive the length. I can only say you inspired me.

  3. No need, Dear Robin, for forgiveness about the length of your comment–you, in turn, inspire me and my readers…

    Thanks for casting the image of the “two extremes”–mainstream-media-obsession and “positive-thinking-escape” !!!

    I’m sure you’ve noticed that I stay tuned-in to the world–it hurts but I must–then bring the world to others while providing a spiritual perspective (and, at times a spiritual solution…).

    So, so glad you grace this blog with your presence, feelings, and thoughts……..

  4. Oh Alex, Thank you. You worded in one line what took me a dozens of lines to express.

    You said: “Thanks for casting the image of the “two extremes”–mainstream-media-obsession and “positive-thinking-escape” !!!”

    Exactly!!! 🙂

    I was finding my way as went. So thank you for letting me do that here and for seeing so clearly where I was headed with it all. Very exciting. Please forgive all my typos. When I get on a roll it comes out so fast that I make more of them. Even when I reread I still miss them as I am wrapped up in the post and resulting thoughts. 🙂

    I forgot to mention that I love this line: “The gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of mankind and of the fundamental oneness of religion.” I experience this as my truth. So beautiful.

    Thank you my friend!!

  5. Robin
    Getting involved is the hardest part.
    as you see on these forums most just sit back and cut and paste, say do this and do that. boycott them. boycott that. etc. it’s an adnausim treadmill of posters who really don’t have a clue to as what is really going on.
    Alex is one of the few that actiully asks questions and is willing to hear all sides so that he can actually see for himself .

    what I would tell you all is to come on over and have a look for yourselves at what is real and what is not.. I’d like you all to see that on a daily basis and even during the war there were Israeli ambulances going into the strip and taking out wounded non combatants, i’d like to show you all that there is a unit in the IDF that is commited to maintaining comms with the regular folks in the strip and during the worst fighting kept those lines open so to help those in need.
    I’d also like to show you all that no matter what I say there will be those that scream “BULLSHIT” even though I would take them to visit these folks in the Israeli hospitals.

    OK it’s friday and I’m going off track? maybe.. but well here it’s very black and white. here we do the dying, here we all bleed.. it’s not a story. it’s life

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