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What is my intention?

In the last months I‘ve posted regularly about the atrocities being committed every day in Gaza and, more hidden from the public, in the West Bank too. I was subtly accused of antisemitism, when really I couldn‘t care less about the religion each one of us chooses to follow or not. For me, this daily insanity goes far beyond religion. It‘s a deep crisis of the human spirit.

Leaning against the wall in a dark tunnel

The attacks on October 7th of 2023 were a terrible massacre. I keep hearing people getting upset when this isn‘t mentioned every time someone names the injustice done to the people in Gaza. Do you care about the Palestinians, they ask, but not about Israelis? At times I wonder whether this kind of question is really meant seriously. To this day, I haven‘t talked to anybody who is not horrified by what happened on October 7th. But here‘s the difference: Imagine October 7th happening on October 8th too, and on October 9th, and 10th, and 11th, and for the next eight months. On and on, relentlessly.

October 7th was a nightmare.

Gaza has been a nightmare since.

Another argument that is thrown around as if it was a justification for what's happening is the holocaust. Especially in Germany, the holocaust is named over and over again as the worst crime that has ever happened, and therefore Israel must be supported – always, under any circumstances. We hear guests on talk shows say NEVER AGAIN, millions go onto the street to demonstrate against the rising far-right party in Germany, shouting NEVER AGAIN. And yet, the extreme right-wing government of Israel is being supported as if they were a slightly misbehaved, but ultimately innocent child. Germany is the second biggest weapon provider for Netanyahu & Co. Where is the sense in this? And why do we need a hierarchy of genocides in the first place? ‘Ours was the worst one, we win!‘ – like that?

I wonder what 5 to 10 million Congolese would say, ruthlessly killed by the Belgiums. Or the native population of South America, about 12 million killed by the noble and much celebrated Spanish explorers. Or the estimated 56 million native Americans brutally killed by European settlers. Next to all of those and the 6 million Jews exterminated in the second world war, well, 15,000 murdered Palestinian children seem indeed like nothing. But isn‘t one of those murdered children already one too many?

Standing in a dark tunnel

In an already totally overcrowded area with one of the highest population densities in the world – 2 million people on 365km², about the size of Dublin – everybody is locked in. Picture it, please: People are kept in a tiny area, they can‘t go anywhere because all border crossings are closed and their passports are worthless anyway, food and water supplies are cut, and then... Then they are bombed.

How can anyone call this a war?

During the last months, several times I was only moments away from posting an angry rant on Instagram or Facebook. A couple of times I‘ve actually done exactly that, but most of the time I remembered the words of a friend before hitting the send button. A while ago he had said to me, ‘before you post anything on social media, ask yourself: What is your intention?‘

More and more often I've started observing my angry impulses. Do I really want to get into an endless debate with another angry human? Do I want to infect others with my rage? There are moments when rage seems the only emotion that makes sense, like when you see images of burning people or screaming children with amputated limbs. I‘d even say that sometimes, rage is the only sane reaction.

And yet my intention is not to add fuel to an already angry world. I‘m not interested in causing more suffering and more wounds. But likewise I don‘t think anything will ever get better if we don‘t face what is really happening.

Recently I‘ve been doing a journey into my family tree. Both of my grandfathers were soldiers in the second world war, fighting at the side of the Nazis. Were they Nazis? Who knows. I remember them as kind and just people, but I don‘t know what they experienced. They were always silent when someone mentioned the war. Very silent.

Someone I know said to me the other day, ‘innocent people speak‘.

Who knows.

Looking up and wondering what my intention is

What I do know is that I don‘t want to stay silent. What is happening in Gaza is a genocide. And while we are arguing who might be right or wrong, while newspapers ask under which circumstances it might be allowed to bomb hospitals, and while ministers are agreeing to another weapon deal, more women and men and children live through unimaginable agony. Right now.

There is much more suffering going in the world, of course. In Sudan, in Ukraine, in Nicaragua. Why then so much talk about Gaza? My own conclusion is this: Because it‘s an extremely visible failure on all levels. The failure of the useless UN, the failure of neighbouring Arab states denying help, the failure of the Israeli population allowing their government to do this, the failure of Germany by not saying ‘Enough! We said NEVER AGAIN and we mean it!‘ The failure of the vast majority of media outlets who report in a shockingly biased way, the failure of well meaning but ultimately impotent peace movements, the failure of an economic system that has only one interest: profit! Most importantly and most sadly though: The ongoing disaster of Gaza is a failure of humanity.

What is my intention with these lines? To speak the truth that I feel. Not to ignore, not to remain silent, not to imprison the human spirit. To learn from history and call a crime a crime the moment it‘s happening, and not decades later. And to remain hopeful. Because once we see the darkness, we can start looking for the light.

A hand reaching from the darkness to the light

photos @ miramikosch

Logo von Claus Mikosch


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