When is a war crime not a war crime? How are all lives equal when some lives seem more equal than others? Who has the right to freedom and who doesn’t?
Events of the past few weeks in the Middle East will be weighing heavily on the heads of many of us. And the above questions have been weighing heavily on mine.
As hundreds of thousands of Israeli troops muster at the border of Gaza, I feel that same sense of impending horror as when Putin sent his tanks across the border of Ukraine.
I’m thinking about the ordinary people trying to get on with their lives. I’m thinking of the young children being traumatised by the horrors of air strikes, grabbed from their cots in the middle of the night to flee across the rubble of their neighbourhoods. I’m thinking of the young people, the sick, the old and all those others who just want to live their lives in peace.
And here I was worried about how my three-year-old would react to fireworks night. I think that’s what people mean by “privilege”.
But such feelings, it seems, must be limited on the grounds of who our allies are.
When the FA called on footballers to wear black armbands in remembrance of all those killed in recent weeks in both Israel and Palestine, it was met with outrage by a multitude of political commentators. Only the dead in Israel should be remembered, they said, demanding instead that the arch at Wembley be lit with the colours of the Israeli flag.
It’s a contradiction perfectly illustrated by EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, who tweeted last year: “Russia’s attacks against civilian infrastructure, especially electricity, are war crimes. Cutting off men, women, children of water, electricity and heating with winter coming – these are acts of pure terror. And we have to call it as such.”
When Israel did the same last week, while also bombarding homes, mosques, schools and hospitals in the blockaded Gaza Strip with high-tech US-provided missiles, her response was only that “Israel has the right to defend itself”.
Source : MEMO