silence is a war crime

Maybe in ten years from now they’ll make a movie about the world today.

Maybe they’ll make a movie about a father in Syria contemplating whether to kill himself, his wife or his children in a desperate attempt to stop the Regime from getting their hands on them.

Maybe they’ll make a movie about an 8 year old Rohingya boy who was thrown into the fire in front of his mother after his village was set alight.

Maybe they’ll make a movie about a young orphaned girl in C.A.R, crying as she remembers her sexual abuse at the hands of UN “peacekeepers” who do as they please without consequences.

Or maybe they’ll make a movie about a daughter in Gaza who picks up the phone to hear an unfamiliar voice letting her know her family has 60 seconds to run before the bombs drop.

And maybe we’ll see it and shed some tears - but we shouldn’t be crying because of the atrocities that occurred.
We should cry because we watched as these horrors unfolded and in our silence betrayed them.

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صمتنا يقتلهم

السفّاح بشار الأسد لا بد أن يؤتى به للعدالة، شاءت روسيا أم أبت

أوقفوا المذبحة في سوريا

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Pray for Syria!

anonymous asked:

Hi. Just wanted to comment on this: When people talk about the atrocities Palestinians face and bring up the Holocaust, they are not always “delegitimising the Holocaust or suggesting it gets undeserved attention” just because. I think they bring it up mostly because in the earlier times (I don’t remember how much years ago, this is a lengthy conflict), when one sought info about the issue, the actual justification many U.S.-based reporters (I guess others did too) gave for Israel's seize of 1/3

Palestinian land was that they needed a home after all that happened to them during WWII (now the justification has shifted to the need to fight terrorism/Hamas). And when people asked those tv reporters why do Palestinians have to pay the price for that home in such a way, they always responded with things like “ARE YOU ANTISEMITIC?” “Don’t you think they have suffered enough and they deserve peace?!?!” LITERALLY that’s what they said. So, at least for a time, I think that yes, SOME PEOPLE
used the Holocaust in an undeserving manner to justify Israel’s actions and shift the focus of the real issue at hand. Maybe that’s why people still bring it up, because it was seriously ridiculous and dumb, and very real (not that it’s ok to undermine their victimhood, is just that that justification was so insulting some people can’t just let it go, idk). Literally they guilt-tripped anyone who thought Israel was doing something wrong to silence them.

The issue I have is many people who claim to be anti-racist are using the Holocaust in a distasteful or downright antisemitic manner. Are there people who unfairly silence criticism of Israel by accusing the person in question of antisemitism? Yes. Do I think serious human rights abuses are being committed against Palestinians? Indeed. I refer mostly to European antisemitism here because it is the context I write from. 

1. I’m criticising how when people talk about rising European antisemitism- other people frequently derail it by implying it is justified because of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. 

  • Derailing is always wrong: a conversation about the appalling human rights abuses Palestinians have been suffering under the heavy-handed policies of the Netanyahu government for example, should be centred on Palestinians and not be derailed by bringing in European antisemitism. Because in Israel, yes, it’s Israeli Jews who have institutional power vis a vis Palestinians. In that context, the lack of power European Jews have doesn’t somehow make Palestinians less oppressed. But the same applies to European antisemitism- the power Israeli Jews have vis a vis Palestinians doesn’t make them privileged elsewhere. Far from it. But many people have a tendency to conflate Israel with Jewish people everywhere- even European Jews, many of whom are not even Israeli citizens, who exist as a minority European ethnic group.
  • European antisemitism is eons old. It was around in Europe when the UK was not even the United Kingdom, but merely the Roman province of Britannia. These prejudices as they exist today did not originate out of a dignified outrage towards the treatment of Palestinians. 
  • Antisemitism today has been a galvanising force for the rise of many European far-right and neo-Nazi parties, who are often extremely racist towards Rroma people, Islamophobic, homophobic and generally anti-immigrant. To downplay antisemitism is to erase the severity of the phenomenon Europe is presently experiencing. 

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2. Also, it amounts to collective punishment. 

  • Consider this. Should I, by virtue of being of Han Chinese ancestry, be held responsible for the oppression and human rights abuses in Tibet?  Even though I am not a Chinese citizen, and have absolutely no way of influencing Chinese government policy anyway? Should people try to silence me when I write about Japanese war crimes committed against my ethnic group because of the oppression of the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province face today? Even though for thousands of years my ancestors have forcefully assimilated and oppressed non-Han ethnic groups, with serious consequences for their descendants today? Are we to line oppression up on a scale where we somehow determined who is “most oppressed” and that group at the bottom of the heap goes first whereas the rest of us must wait in line for our turn? If that were the case, humanity’s future would be very dark indeed. 

3. We can hold parallel conversations about antisemitism and the human rights abuses inflicted on Palestinians. 

  • To extend the earlier analogy, many would tell me it is unreasonable for me to be held responsible for whatever else Beijing gets up to and agree I don’t have to wait for the Chinese government to become completely “unproblematic” before I can start a conversation about Japanese war crimes. If you look up the voting priorities of Jewish-Americans, Israel often isn’t the top of the agenda. Jewish-Americans also voted for Obama in big majorities in both elections, despite the Republicans allegedly saying Obama isn’t supportive enough of Israel, or is too soft on Iran (seen as a threat to Israel). Yet, on tumblr, even amongst blogs that consider themselves anti-racist, I see this attitude that even non-Israeli Jews are somehow answerable for Israel’s behaviour despite clear evidence that the Jewish diaspora- like all diasporic groups- does not have a homogenous political view and certainly aren’t all supportive of the present Israeli government. I see people posting blatantly antisemitic cartoons that look right out of European neo-Nazi leaflets, patting themselves on the back for being oh-so-progressive like this crap:

4. I see a callous indifference to European antisemitism despite the fact that it led to a hideous European genocide. With people going, “Well, look at the Palestinians” or “well OTHER PEOPLE died too, you know”. Really? It is not that Palestinian suffering is something that doesn’t need to be talked about- it’s about what your motivation is for doing so when people feel a need to use Palestine to end conversations about European antisemitism. 

  • This is garbage- beating up one marginalised group in alleged defense of another marginalised group is a usual tactic to distract from the real problem. Marine Le Pen, for example, has been comparing European Muslims to Nazis and trying to attract the vote of French Jews. Despite the fact that her father, who founded the party, is a known Holocaust denier who said the gas chambers are just a “detail”. Despite the fact that she knows very well that her party is full of neo-Nazis dressed in sheep’s clothing. This is positively grotesque: her party was born from antisemitism, and now she wants to use French Muslims as a club to beat French Jews to get them to support her. Exactly why we shouldn’t give in to the tendency to pit two marginalised groups against each other. How does shitting on Jewish people as a whole- particularly European Jews (who I very often see dismissed as having “white privilege” on tumblr), instead of specifically the IDF or Netanyahu and his government help Palestinians in any way? In fact, it actually strengthens the arguments of militant Israeli politicians who insist that Israel must exist at all costs, even Palestinian lives: because people get persecuted outside Israel anyway. 

5. Israel is not above criticism. But we can criticise Israel without being antisemitic or dismissing the serious racism Jewish people face around the world. And we can do it without bringing in the Holocaust- or saying things like “they ought to have learned” (very common).

  •  Because, let’s look at what really happened. It was the Holocaust that created sufficient political will for other countries to recognise Israel to begin with. Almost every country in the world including the US had turned away Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis. Plus, the Holocaust destroyed many communities and created millions of refugees- many countries would rather what was then the British Mandate of Palestine absorb them then have to let them into their country. 
  • Also, people desired their own state because they felt the Holocaust showed that no matter how much they tried to assimilate elsewhere,  they would still be persecuted anyway. During WW1, lots of European Jews fought for their respective countries. German Jews were nonetheless accused of causing Germany to lose WW1 by the Nazis, and throughout WW2, accused of funding the Allied Powers. Who “ought to know better”? I think it’s more like the rest of us, considering how continued European antisemitism today does convince many European Jews to go to Israel. The owner of the French kosher grocery store held hostage, for example, said he would go to Israel after the whole ordeal. People who use Israel-Palestine as an excuse to be antisemitic or ignore antisemitism outside Israel are pretty much indulging in collective punishment- and ironically, strengthening the arguments of right-wing Israeli politicians. 

6. It is callous to rub people’s faces into a genocide they suffered, especially when US government support for Israel and its turning a blind eye to human rights abuses of Palestinians is not because of sympathy about the Holocaust, as much as various politicians or other people play kabuki with that sentiment. 

  • It is about cold and calculated US strategic interests- the US after all, only became a staunch Israeli ally after the 1967 Six Day War showed that Israel could be a good counterweight to other Soviet-backed surrounding countries. If the US cared about the Holocaust, why didn’t it allow in Jewish refugees? Why didn’t it support Israel in the 1948 War with the millions of dollars of military aid that Israel gets today? Ha- strategic interests.  Is Israel being a liability for US foreign policy now? In my opinion yes, but it doesn’t mean continued US support is because Jewish-Americans are shadowy villains manipulating Congress. 
  • The US has often felt a need to continue supporting allies that have turned out to be less-than beneficial for ages because of “better the devil you know”. Like maybe Pakistan? Which received lots of US military aid, right up till the time the Navy SEALs found Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. Or Saudi Arabia, where wealthy individuals have been funding several extremist groups that the US has been fighting. But the US sees Saudi Arabia as a necessary partner to counter Iran. The US support for Israel and turning a blind eye to human rights abuses is the standard M.O for how the US generally treats American allies. I can pull up a long list of other US allies who not only committed similarly serious human rights abuses but had the CIA train their secret police to torture and kill their political dissidents. The US will after all, turn a blind eye to genocide if it is not in its interest- as it did with the Holocaust itself, in the Ottoman Empire, in Cambodia, in Rwanda. So, there is no need to bring in the Holocaust into this- no genocide should be used against its victims.

So in conclusion, I think we can and should criticise Israel. There certainly are US and Israeli politicians or journalists who unfairly accuse people critical of Israel of antisemitism. There are Israeli politicians making extremely odious and racist comments against Palestinians. Being a victim of racism does not make one incapable of enacting racism or oppression against others. I support a 2-state solution, and I think the present Israeli government is terrible for peace. 

But I do not support people derailing conversations about European antisemitism by bringing in Palestine, not when a bunch of neo-Nazis are trying to organise a march in London, not when just weeks ago, people were murdered in France for being Jewish, not when these far right parties are gaining more support,. Neither do I support the way some US politicians insist on unconditional support for Israel, or people pointing to European antisemitism to say the bulldozing of Palestinian settlements or killing of Palestinian civilians as collateral damage is justified. 

These are two very important conversations we can have at the same time, without using one to invalidate the other. 

And in my opinion, the young generation of whites, blacks, browns, whatever else there is, you’re living at a time of extremism, a time of revolution, a time when there’s got to be a change. People in power have misused it and now there has to be a change and a better world has to be built and the only way it’s going to be built is with extreme methods. And I, for one, will join in with anyone, I don’t care what color you are, as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth.
—  Malcolm X
if there's ever a time we are needed, it's now.

whether it’s reblogging posts, donating money, signing petitions, or simply informing yourself enough to pass on the information to those who don’t watch the news, who don’t listen to the radio, who don’t read newspapers. we have never been needed more than we are needed today. this isn’t a matter that can be brushed off. it isn’t an issue that we can ignore and decide isn’t our responsibility. there are people out there willing to give their lives for the freedom of their country and their people, why can’t we manage to give one reblog? one euro? one signature? one or two or three or however many days it takes to ensure the end of this mass denial of basic human rights. i’m outraged at every single thing i’m hearing, it’s almost surreal that in this day and age the likes of what is happening in libya is actually taking place. there are millions of inspirational, brave people fighting for their freedom in libya. i cannot stress how much they need our help. if even one more person is informed of what is going on then we’ve done what tiny job has been designated to us.

we might not be the people of libya, but we are the people of the world and it is our right as people with the power of a medium through which to speak that we let ourselves and the libyans be heard.

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The internet is shut down in Syria today.

The regime did not do so for almost 2 years of revolution that was orchestrated by social-networking.

To do so today is very scary!

Are they planning something big?

Are they planning on using chemical weapons against the civilians, and want no videos of that on the web?

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O silent world, our blood is on your hands!

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O God help us and save our Syria.

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TEACH EVERY CHILD TO RAISE HIS VOICE, AND THEN, MY BROTHER, THEN WILL JUSTICE BE DEMANDED BY TEN MILLION RIGHTEOUS MEN.

MAKE THEM HEAR YOU.