A Letter to Slaughtered Palestinian Children

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Photo: Real World Photographs

Childhood is for innocence, for waking up without any thought other than to have fun, play, fool around, love and be loved, thus having absolutely no clue of the burden that represents the conscience and the clear-headedness that hollows the hearts of men and women every minute. Childhood is for innocence, for admiring the morning light filtering the silky strands of your hair, for unbridled races to catch clouds and dreams that know no borders or boundaries.

But childhood is violated, destroyed by the force of hate and the blasting of bombs. Your small bodies filled with the promise of light, are now dismembered, laminated corpses turned to ash. Yours are the bodies of children from here, from beyond, across times, that monsters have chosen to fracture. What pushes someone to want to kill a child in deliberate cold calculation? What kind of logic or rather what kind of madness governs such cruelty, more so, given that those who are killing you are certainly no strangers to suffering?

Paralysed by emotion and lacking words, we sometimes reach a point where we no longer have the strength to make sense of it all. Your death is not the collateral of a baffling history, or a so-called religious or millennial conflict, as some would have it. These people would also claim that it is difficult to discern who is the oppressor and who is being oppressed. No, your death is etched in a hegemonic history and undertaking, which needs to be imperatively understood.

When we denounce your persecutors, we are tagged as anti-semitic, as Zionist supporters do, towards anyone who dares condemn the murderous Israeli policy. Manufacturing an amalgamation between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is a well devised strategy to silence critics, as the anti-Semitic label comes with heavy consequences. Any debate, for instance, becomes impossible. Let’s set the record straight. One can have the utmost respect, as is my case, for Jews, the Jewsih culture, Judaism while being anti-Zionist. Anti-Zionism is not equal to anti-Semitism. In fact, it is well known that a large number of Jews are anti-Zionists.

In your death, history is being written. That of a colonial project. Similar to any colonial project, it consists of the expropriation of land from a people in favour of another, denying the indigenous people’s existence, replacing the latter with colonisers by any means possible, and of the promotion of racial supremacy. This “mission to civilise” is based on the dehumanisation of the other, with the ultimate goal of annihilation. Thus, killing of children does not occur by accident, it is a well-thought-out strategy. Israel is not doing anything new. Its methods are similar to those used by other colonising countries, which explains their unconditional support, to a great extent. More than ever, Israel is today at the heart of global domination. It plays a key role in the global peacekeeping industry (See, Jeff Halper, War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification. Pluto Press, 20151), an avant-gardist when it comes to securocratic warfare. The fate of Palestinians is intrinsically linked to that of all the oppressed on the planet. With every Palestinian child who dies, the world falters and dies a little bit more.

I tell myself that from the beyond, from that peaceful place where you are, you examine those who killed you and you interrogate them. What do you tell them? That nationalism is a betrayal of faith? That nationalist irrationality, the idolisation of land and things goes against any kind of faith? That those in whom suffering is ingrained cannot inflict the same on others? That any association with those who hate and oppress you is but a first step to hell? That they should think about a tomorrow where the great power that they are enjoying today might be taken from them? That they should open their eyes to the tragic irony of their situation? That they are increasingly becoming like those who tried to destroy them? What do they see when they look in the mirror? Do they see the genocidal monster, identical to the one who destroyed their people? What differentiates them from those people after all? That their colonial logic is a dead end, for them and everyone else? That the only way out, the only way for a comprehensive peace, is a two-state solution?

Childhood is for innocence. Every time a child awakens to life, s/he becomes a source of light to fight darkness. Every time a Palestinian child dies, he bequeaths this light to his people, which entrenches in their lands, nourishes it, and unleashes sustenance for uprising and freedom. Palestine will be free, Palestine will win. You are the advocates for that. You, archangels of light.

Umar Timol (Mauritian artist).

(translated from French by Saffiyah Chady Edoo)

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Cafe Dissensus Everyday is the blog of Cafe Dissensus magazine, born in New York City and currently based in India. All materials on the site are protected under Creative Commons License.

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Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine“Special commemorative issue: 100 years of Satyajit Ray – the indefinable genius”, edited by Roshni Sengupta, Jagiellonian University Krakow, Poland.

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