Gaza and Its Civilians

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discussion_gaza_civilians

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.

And,

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…

gaza_girl_suffering

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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Oh, It’s Just A Conflict . . .

civilian_casualties

It’s been happening for centuries—soldiers pick a fight with other soldiers and civilians are displaced and killed.

From the Associated Press: Russia rolls into Georgia, rolls back the clock

From CNN: Georgia-Russia conflict brings back Cold War memories

From the Irish Times: Relief for Georgia as Russian forces begin withdrawal

“Relief? Oh, but it’s just a conflict.”

Well… No, it’s war! The brave crusaders can use all the disguising words they want. When guns shoot and bombs explode and innocent people are made to suffer, it’s war.

That image up there is very old yet it tells the story as well as our modern media. Troops fight (feeling like an angel is guiding them) and innocents suffer . . .

What brought me to write this post, as I did my daily scan of news sources, was an audio-enhanced slide show on EurasiaNet.Org. It’s a story photographed and spoken by Rena Effendi. It shows the dislocation and disruption of the innocents in this “conflict” that the underside of the carpet knows is war . . .

This is a unique and compelling story !
GEORGIA – Audio/Pictorial Report

Today’s Quote:

“For thousands of years the human race has been at war. It is enough. Now let mankind, for a time at least, consort in amity and peace. Enmity and hatred have ruled. Let the world, for a period, exercise love. For thousands of years the nations have denied each other, considering each other as infidel and inferior. It is sufficient. We must now realize that we are the servants of one God, that we turn to one beneficent Father, live under one divine law, seek one reality and have one desire. Thus may we live in the utmost friendship and love, and in return the favors and bounties of God shall surround us; the world of humanity will be reformed; mankind, enjoy a new life; eternal light will illumine, and heavenly moralities become manifest.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 6

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The Losers of Every Battle . . .

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This post was written about the Georgian conflict but the message applies to the Gaza conflict as well…
> Use this link to see all our posts about Gaza <

Wars are fought for many reasons but they can’t protect the civilians in the cross-fire. The Georgian conflict is purely political—adult children fighting over land and prestige.

From the International Crisis Group: Human Cost of Georgian Conflict “The number of civilian casualties has yet to be independently established. Moscow claims 2,000 people were killed. US-based Human Rights Watch has said this cannot be independently verified.”

From the Los Angeles Times: Georgian refugees’ plight is grim “The Georgia-Russia conflict is estimated to have displaced as many as 100,000 people, many of whom are yet to receive any aid.”

From the Kansas City Star: Amid the chaos in Georgia, Missouri doctor perseveres “Trish Blair, the founder and president of the nonprofit ACTS International, has been helping the people of Georgia since 1992.
“The refugees will need medical care, she said in an e-mail.
“With a decision that has simultaneously horrified her friends and made them proud, the former trauma surgeon chose to stay.”

If you believe in a Life after this one on Earth, you must wonder how the people killed in war are received by those who passed on in comfortable, serene surroundings.

Some believe that death is birth into the Next Life—graduation from this school that tests and develops our virtues.

To those left behind, children with no mother, mothers with no children, the anguish is not easily abated by thoughts of the reward their dead have received—their escape from thismortal coil . . .

“Ye observe how the world is divided against itself, how many a land is red with blood and its very dust is caked with human gore. The fires of conflict have blazed so high that never in early times, not in the Middle Ages, not in recent centuries hath there ever been such a hideous war, a war that is even as millstones, taking for grain the skulls of men. Nay, even worse, for flourishing countries have been reduced to rubble, cities have been levelled with the ground, and many a once prosperous village hath been turned into ruin. Fathers have lost their sons, and sons their fathers. Mothers have wept away their hearts over dead children. Children have been orphaned, women left to wander, vagrants without a home. From every aspect, humankind hath sunken low. Loud are the piercing cries of fatherless children; loud the mothers’ anguished voices, reaching to the skies.
“And the breeding-ground of all these tragedies is prejudice: prejudice of race and nation, of religion, of political opinion; and the root cause of prejudice is blind imitation of the past — imitation in religion, in racial attitudes, in national bias, in politics. So long as this aping of the past persisteth, just so long will the foundations of the social order be blown to the four winds, just so long will humanity be continually exposed to direst peril.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 247

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