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Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.

 

Haiti and Gaza

2010-01-17

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

I can’t help thinking of Gaza and its people as I hear and see the suffering of Haitians. More so as we witness the overwhelming response of the world rushing to Haiti’s aid.

I wonder: how many others remember Gaza as the Haitian tragedy unfolds, as reporters explore each family agony, as ships and planes of relief are mobilized, as money flows to countless relief organizations. Even as a few historians recall how Haiti has been plundered, its democratic attempts derailed, its people left in poverty, Haiti earns such unanimous sympathy. From around the world vows of support are launched. Heart warming? For some.

Exactly one long,painful year ago, we saw the massive onslaught against the people of Gaza. That was man-made: Israeli made. It was an earthquake that spread over the entire area and it lasted for 22 horrifying days. It persists.

Some photos escaped from the site of carnage forcing a few who cared to view the corpses, the weeping families, the homeless, and the aimless. In Gaza too, United Nations buildings were bombed, schools and places of worship, hospitals and police centers crushed, surrounded by corpses. Like an earthquake it was indiscriminate.

What contrasts so much with today’s Haitian experience is complete absence of international aid for Gaza. Not only was there no assistance for the dying, wounded and homeless during the assault. Throughout the 13 months since then and today, assistance to Gaza's people was barred.

In recent weeks we have witnessed this injustice, with the arrival at Gaza’s borders by a symbolic handful of supporters from “Viva Palestina” and Gaza Freedom March. One saw  how obstacles were place in the way of even their symbolic assistance. That is: the few of us who scoured through ‘alternative media’ saw. Otherwise there was no media attention.

Significantly, Muslim organization are also kept out of Gaza. (We note that several have announced aid to Haiti, a result of having surplus funds undelivered to Gaza!)

The ongoing siege against Gaza is clearly part of Israel’s larger genocidal policy against Palestinians.

Never was the politicization of humanitarian aid more obvious than it is in these events.

Of course we feel sympathy for the losses of our Haitian brothers and sisters. Doubtless, so do the many authors who have been pointing out how the US military is using the tragedy to essentially secure control of Haiti, following their history of interventions in Haiti over the past century. This history is important to bear in mind at this time. One article I recommend is “The Militarization of Emergency Aid to Haiti: Is it a Humanitarian Operation or an Invasion?” by Michel Chossudovsky whose link is:  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17000

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