Sunday, September 19, 2021

Our weekly column (delayed) from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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I Can't Wait For Another Gaza Relief Flotilla That Carries No Relief

By Subhi Jamaal, Gaza resident

old ArabGaza City, September 16 - More than eleven years have elapsed since the Mavi Marmara incident, in which Israeli commandos boarded a vessel bound for the Gaza coast that carried mainly activists and some weapons, but which organizers touted as carrying "aid" to our "besieged" territory, and took control of the boat to prevent it from breaching maritime blockade. For various reasons, no subsequent effort has progressed nearly as far, but I, personally, get excited at the prospect of more activists wasting their time, money, and safety on additional useless endeavors of the same nature.

I can still picture the scene: the aftermath of the Israeli raid, when the Mavi Marmara sat in impound at Ashdod, where its impressive cargo of a couple of boxes of redundant medicine was offloaded; the collection of guns, clubs, knives, and some improvised weapons that the Israelis confiscated from the "humanitarian" activists on board; the International Criminal Court inquiry that found the blockade of Gaza in accord with International Law, and its enforcement therefore legal. It feels like a lifetime since then, and yet the sentiments remain fresh.

Perhaps what I miss most about the experience in real time is the condescending, if not downright racist, motives of those involved. Sure, everything sprang from a robust feeling of antisemitism, with a generous dose of Holocaust inversion thrown in for good measure, but those are so commonplace in our culture that examining them is no longer so interesting. No, for me, what I relished was seeing how those activists saw themselves as noble warriors on behalf of powerless Gaza Palestinians, and without whom those poor Palestinians faced starvation, disease, and other ills. In the meantime, Gaza has an obesity epidemic, there are vanishingly few cases of malnutrition, life expectancy is among the highest in the Arab world, luxurious resorts dot the coastline, high-end shopping and dining abound, and we can apparently afford to start a disastrous war with Israel every few years.

Whenever it happens, I can't wait to once again look in the eye a bunch of people who view themselves as saviors, and us as wretches fortunate enough to enjoy their largesse and attention. It gives such a sense of empowerment, and clearly for them, who want cameras and microphones on them all the time, it's all about us. But first they must generate media and NGO attention to a situation that media and NGOs have been giving constant attention for decades, and then may be later they can ship in actual aid.

First things first.


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