Last month, we celebrated Mother’s Day. We were reminded of what all mothers (and fathers) wish for their children; to be happy, to be healthy, to live in peace and equal opportunity.
This is Hassan, the son of a good friend. Isn’t he gorgeous? With his mother’s love and protection, he is certainly happy and healthy.
Unfortunately for Hassan, however, he and his family live in Gaza. No matter how much his parents may wish for it, they do not have peace and equal opportunity for Hassan.
On the same day as my friend posted Hassan’s photo to her Facebook, Israeli navy warships were firing on Gazan fishermen to keep them away from productive deep-sea fishing grounds. This is not a naval blockade to keep weapons out; it is just another part of Israel’s slow genocide in Gaza; applying pressure to the civilian population at every point.
Three weeks ago Australia expelled an Israeli diplomat over Israel’s use of forged Australian passports in the assassination of a Hamas leader. Recently, an Australian citizen was treated appallingly after being left to bleed during Israel’s attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. Israel’s actions are not those of a nation which respects others. Decades ago, I was a supporter of Israel, but no more.
I have come to realise the United States’ unthinking and unconditional support for Israel since 1967 is the root cause of most of the conflict in the Middle East. Israel believes that it can carry out any action and, so long as there is no response from its most powerful ally, the US, there will not be any adverse consequences; there will be no need to pursue peace.
This not a Democrat or Republican problem. This situation has persisted under many Presidents: Carter, Reagan, Bush Snr, Clinton, Bush Jnr and now Obama.
When Israel intercepts a humanitarian convoy and the result is 9 dead, it is not good enough for the United States to merely express “regret for the loss of life”. The rest of the world can condemn Israel, but unless the response from the United States is stronger, nothing will ever change, conflict will continue, mothers will continue to lose their children.
What does this mean for Hassan?
None of us are born with hatred in our hearts. Hatred will only come after we experience fear.
Hassan has been born into a family where he is surrounded by the love of his parents. He has nothing to fear; no reason to hate. Please help Hassan not know fear.
A plea to all my US friends
Now, I am fortunate to have many friends from around our planet. Many of them are US citizens, many are mothers and some are grandmothers.
To all of my US friends, especially those who are mothers and grandmothers, I make this plea: I urge you to write to your Congressman and the Senators for your state. Tell them that you do not support the Unites States’ unconditional support for Israel; you do not support the Unites States’ tacit support for the genocide of Palestinians.
Do not remain silent. Do not let your government breed fear and hate in your name.
Let us pray that by next Mother’s Day and next Memorial Day, fewer Mothers are missing their sons and daughters. Let us pray that Hassan grows up in peace and never knows hatred.