Friday, January 25, 2008

Gaza in a Cage.

Yasir lives in a prison.

In March 2007 Yasir and his father were caught in crossfire between Palestinian factions as they were walking home. A bullet hit Yasir’s spine leaving him crippled from the neck down.

Yasir’s prison is his body.

Since that day Yasir has lived in various ICUs in Gaza City. Daily, the injured enter and leave the hospital around him; many of them leave dead. Yasir is ten years old and very aware of what goes on around him. During his one-month rehabilitation stay in Israel he learned to speak despite his new condition. His sentences are short and barely audible, but he speaks.

Yasir is limited to the inside of a hospital intensive care unit, not unlike the community beyond the walls of his room.

Gaza exists in a cage.

With the very rare exception Gazans are unable to travel beyond the borders designated to the “Gaza Strip” by the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. People are transported in and out of the Gaza Strip to better medical facilaties, often due to deadly attacks by a neighboring state and its strangling siege that, not unlike Yasir, is causing Gazans to experience a slow death. They too raise their voice, but it is only barely heard, their cry for help rarely reaching beyond the walls that encage them.

Gaza’s cage is the double-standard of a silent world.

The gates to those walls have grown increasingly sealed shut over the past two years. The source of this act is a people voicing their opinion in a democratic election that the world’s sole superpower, the USA strongly supported and heralded. Subsequently the election outcome was renounced and Gaza’s inhabitants collectively punished for an opinion the world did not approve of. One may criticize the views of a political party, but to punish a whole people for the vote of the majority is untenable by the international law standards of our time.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said,

Israel must immediately either withdraw from the Gaza Strip completely, thus handing over control of the Rafah border to Palestinian and Egyptian officials: or else Israel must acknowledge its continuing occupation of the Gaza Strip, and, as an Occupying Power, act upon its legal obligation to establish an orderly and transparent mechanism, mediated by an independent third party, that will guarantee freedom of movement for the people of the Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday one of those walls came down, whether legally or illegally, it came down and raised the voice of a people strangled by the injustice of a world community that turns a blind eye to injustice. Although it is chaos that has followed, slightly enlarging the size of this cage, the crumbled walls sound out the hypocrisy of a world that remains silent in the light of its two-faced disposition.

Yasir is waiting for a donation for his family to purchase the medical equipment that will allow him to move out of the ICU and back into his home.

Gaza is waiting to one day be given the chance to be free, to create a home to live like people do all across the world; not within closed walls.