Oct 23, 2023

Letter to Gaza

 Dear fellow Palestinians

Many of us were addressing the world but did not address you. We know 1.2 million of you are children and that Israeli campaign displaced 1.4 million [now 1.9] of you from your homes (half are children). We can’t imagine the terror all 2.4 million of you face. I am not sure if some of you who still have internet will see this and I am sure you definitely have more urgent things on your mind (like your children's starvation) than to read this note of contrition/ note of regret. We are all so ashamed and feel we let you down. We worked hard to get the world community to listen. Some of us have been doing it for decades (even trying to break your siege with solidarity ships which got attacked) but we must be honest with ourselves: Arab government leaders with rare exception failed you (including those of the State of Palestine). The UN failed. WE ALL FAILED. We failed even after we saw five other wars waged on you, the people of Gaza each more horrific than those before. We failed as we saw your economy destroyed by 17 years of a cruel siege, which now evolved to blockade for thirst and starvation. We failed when we did not act against the fascist government of Israel strong enough at the time it was elected.  The collusion of so many who shook hands and normalized your tormenters will haunt them forever. The Western governments who were complicit in killing you delegitimized themselves. They also drop the last remaining fig leaf of international law (now it is social Darwinism and might makes right that rules). Did they also kill the last vestige of humanity?

Many of us did see a forthcoming holocaust. History of humans give us many examples: Australia’s aborigines, native Americans, Congolese (by Belgium), Armenians, Jews, Roma people, Rwanda, and many others. While each situation is different, yours is the first to be so well documented with videos and things some of us never heard of a few years ago (Instagram, Telegram, Tik-Toks). Some of us kept hoping that in the 21st century, the Zionist lobby in Western Governments can be challenged in time to avert this. We were lulled to think that a majority of people in those countries are decent people who do not approve of colonization and brutal occupation. In our wildest nightmares, we did not imagine such control of mainstream media and western governments (an Orwellian world).  We brought millions on the streets opposing the war on Iraq 20 years ago and it partially worked to ameliorate it (a bit less than the promised "shock and awe" scenario that Rumsfeld said would be like nothing before it). That was because some Western countries opposed the UD drive to war. Yet, still the horrific war killed tens of thousands of our brothers in Iraq and the sanctions that preceded it killed half a million Iraqi children The US had its hands bloody in other wars (Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, Latin America). They did not learn. The Zionist/military/industrial complex marched on to start new wars (Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sudan) using their proxies (Israel, UAE, Saudi Arabia). The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

All these previous challenges pale compared to what is before you and before us. I wish I could assure you that that we shall overcome and that we will stop this latest madness before you are also martyred or injured like your family and friends. Many of us are wondering if our faith in humanity is misplaced. Some reflect if armed resistance is the only way. Many friends in Gaza tell me at least the resistance stood up for us when no one else did or “we prefer a quick death over a slow death.”  We also hear from some of you questions we have no answer to. Why is this happening to our children and what can we do to protect our families (let alone feed them)?  When will this hellish life end? I do not know if we have answers for ourselves let alone for you. It is like a slave asking why am I a slave and will this torture end some day? Or a native American wondering if life will ever go back to what it was before the invasion.  Some of you submit to the will of God and find solace in your faith. I wish sometimes I had a fraction of your faith.

We know that many families were wiped out completely. We also know that EVERY remaining family in Gaza had its martyrs (575 massacres involving families). There are also the injured and maimed in the thousands thousands (nearly half children). We know how traumatized (and hungry and thirsty) you, the survivors are. Yet, knowledge seems so small and impertinent. We obviously can't imagine your feelings as you try desperately to live through this man-made hell! Maybe that is not a good analogy. Hell is believed to be a place where bad people end up. Your only fault is that you were born in this "Holy Land'', ethnically cleansed from your communities, and squeezed into a reservation/ghetto/ concentration camp called “Gaza strip” because some idiots thought it is a good idea to transform a prosperous multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-lingual society to a monolithic "Jewish state" (a land for Jews and by Jews).  They thought it is for Jewish empowerment never thinking that it is to empower them to do persecute others and that this is the main defining feature of their state “Israel”.

Your children are writing their names on their arms so that they can be identified after they are killed.  How can our minds even comprehend this let alone be able to say something about this. We see your stories on social media in video. Will we in the future have museums commemorating you and your suffering? Is anyone even compiling your names and records of lives and deaths in Gaza? We will need these documents so that if humanity recovers (a big IF) from this genocide we have the documents (individuals stories, age, circumstance of each massacre, the dreams and aspiration of those murdered). Regardless of what happens from now on, such a record would be critical to immortalize all who have perished in this newest of human history of holocausts and genocides. 

For many of us we become numb even seeing these videos, we can't even imagine. Yet we must look and if we survive remember the 21st century genocide. It is no solace to know that more people are aware that your literal sacrifice is to shape a new Middle East under Zionist and Western imperial hegemony. It is no solace that more people know about the coveted gas fields of Gaza (one of the richest in the Eastern Mediterranean). Gaza genocide for gas anyone? Does the world care about the plans to create an alternative to the Suez canal passing from Eilat to Gaza after it is depopulated or its residents “thinned” out per the Zionist doctrine of maximum geography with minimum demography.  I know it is no solace to you to see Jews, Christians, Bahai, etc show "solidarity".  It is no solace to have so many prayers and wishes for peace when children are in mass graves or under the rubble and injured people can’t be treated because there is no medicines or surgical material (anesthesia, needles etc). I look at my letter in 2008 during one of the attacks and it was titled “sometimes the dead are envied” (http://karmalised.com/?p=5230). But the horrors now are 1000 fold more than 2008 and even larger genocide actions are on the way. U had never even imagined. We see death everywhere and we do envy those among you whose death ended their suffering in the largest open-air prison in the world.

We know we failed you, we know you are seeing only the dust and darkness and the smell of death (thousands still under the rubble). We thought we can help you and we try. Yet, your heroism and dignity as you die in your hundreds every day and the living risk their lives and with their bare hands extract the dead and the living. I will never forget the medic produce the most haunting prayer lullaby to a girl who lost her entire family. You teach us humanity which so many millions have forgotten.  Please teach us the living dead more.  I would gladly exchange what is left of my life to let one child in Gaza live a decent life. Please continue to teach us about life and death. Will you teach us about the imminent death of “international law”, death of decency in many, or death of humanity? But maybe you can also teach us about life, how miraculously you always rise from the ashes, how you will transcend this horror. You and I are after all descendants of Canaanites who gave the world the alphabet and agriculture who fought and triumphed over many invaders (Persians, Crusaders etc.) and how you will triumph over these newest invaders.

Yesterday I wrote I am partly optimistic but perhaps I agree with Gramsci who said:  "You must realize that I am far from feeling beaten…it seems to me that… a man out to be deeply convinced that the source of his own moral force is in himself — his very energy and will, the iron coherence of ends and means — that he never falls into those vulgar, banal moods, pessimism and optimism. My own state of mind synthesizes these two feelings and transcends them: my mind is pessimistic, but my will is optimistic. Whatever the situation, I imagine the worst that could happen in order to summon up all my reserves and will power to overcome every obstacle.” But surely Gramsci cannot and I cannot even begin to understand what a dehumanized victim feels against a most powerful juggernaut of war machine grinding homes and flesh and riven by ego and greed. Those who faced it in the past left us lessons which I hope we can learn. All our words and our actions are small compared to the volumes spoken by the silent lifeless body of a child.   When my turn comes, and it is coming to the 3 million living in the West Bank, at least I would have said my piece to you people of Gaza: please give us of your wisdom and courage in these dark days, forgive us as we failed you, may we also forgive ourselves, and may God have mercy on all our souls.


  1. I have commented to many in recent days that the international solidarity movement, though it has grown, is growing still and must continue, has failed to exert sufficient pressure on our governments to make any significant difference to the suffering of Palestinians, in Gaza, but also in the 'West Bank' and the Palestinian diaspora. Our presence as visitors and observers, our charitable donations and our political activities are appreciated, but we have not succeeded. And this has contributed to the desperation of Palestinians.

    As I said to Jewish and Israeli friends many times in the past, if you do not allow peaceful protest, if you label demands for justice as antisemitism, if you support (or fail to oppose) the road of oppression, settlement, discrimination and ethnic cleansing - then the end will be extremely bad for you, as well as the Palestinians. And the world. But Dr Qumsiyeh has written it much more movingly than I could.

    I grieve for all the dead of the past weeks, all the wounded, all the suffering.

  2. We live in darkness all around us but the flame is burning brighter today than yesterday. We will come together in renewal to become a roaring fire.

  3. Thank you Mazim for this loving letter to Gazans, although it may be too late for them to receive it. We are the recipients and feel as Gazans and must carry the messages.

  4. Mazim you hit the nail on its ugly genocidal American Exceptionalism (A.E.) head. If the opponents of A.E. don't win the New World Order for world peace and equality for all then misanthropy is the only answer--sorry Karl Marx.