2009-01-15

 

1000+ 930+ 830+ 700 600 dead and counting

People who have not experienced war first hand don't realize that its horror is not fear, pain or anger. It is despair, and powerlessness. I will never forget my parents' desperate faces when they could do nothing to protect me and my brother other than putting their arms around us and pray for the best---when we were under mortar fire in the Angolan civil war. This sense of powerlessness overwhelms me when I read accounts such as these:

"I heard from the father of one of our patients, a 10-year-old boy with cancer who had been going to Israel for chemotherapy. Of course, there is no chance of that now. His child was in pain, so he wanted to go to the nearest hospital in Gaza, which was the European hospital in Khan Younis. The ambulance couldn't reach them because the road was blocked so this man carried his son for 8km (five miles) on his back to the hospital. When they got there, there wasn't any medication available, there weren't even any painkillers so he just carried him back home."
Dr Miri Weingarten is director of the Israeli charity Physicians for Human Rights

"We have been receiving a very high number of patients with a strange burn, completely different to the burns we are used to managing, very deep burns with a very offensive, chemical odour coming from the wound site. The wound keeps smoking for a long time. When we try to wash it with saline and water, some reaction happens, the skin bubbles and the patient complains of extreme pain. In some cases there is then severe destruction of the tissue and we have had to amputate whole limbs. We don't know what type of treatment should be used. The major problem is we don't know the kind of weapon that has been used. We have a visiting doctor from Norway who thinks it might be white phosphorus but we are not sure. Even if it is, we have no experience of it and do not know how to deal with wounds it has caused. We are asking for the help of all physicians across the world - what type of weapons cause these injuries and how do you deal with them? Is the chemical odour coming from the wound harmful to the medics? What are the long term repercussions? We have no idea. What can we say? We try to reassure patients but we do not know. "
Dr Abu Shaaban is director of the Burns Unit at Gaza's Shifa hospital

Imagine these were your children, and you will get closer to understanding the horror of war. A quote from Erasmus comes to mind: "War is delightful to those who have had no experience of it."


Grieving over Gaza by Anat Biletzki.

One thing that amazes me is how Israel manages not to let any journalists in, without that much outcry from the U.S. and Western media---certainly nothing like what we read and hear, rightly, when Mugabe expels western journalists from Zimbabwe...

And while the US media worries, also rightly, about whether there was torture at Guantanamo, I don't see the editorials of the NY Times calling for immediate access to Gaza in order to verify horrific stories such as "Israelis shot at fleeing Gazans" and UN accuses Israel over phosphorus. Jon Stewart below is the only one asking why such phony standards... Meanwhile at the NYTimes, we have the boring sanctimony of Friedman---why doesn't he use his position to press Israel into letting journalists in? Why doesn't he go there to report if claims such as the one above are true or not?



Even UN-flagged schools are not immune. 292 235 205 children among the dead. Humanitarian crisis deepens. Journalists still not allowed in, therefore casualty claims in Gaza cannot be independently verified. U.N. Warns of Refugee Crisis in Gaza Strip.

"[...] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said an alleged failure of the Israeli military to help wounded civilians in Gaza - cited by the Red Cross - could constitute a war crime. On Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said its staff had found four weak and scared children beside their mothers' bodies in houses hit by shelling in the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City. Ms Pillay told the BBC: 'The incident the Red Cross describes is very troubling because it has all the elements of what constitutes a war crime. There is an obligation to protect the wounded, to treat the sick, to remove them to safety and here, according to the Red Cross, Israeli soldiers just stood by and did nothing for these four children and one adult who were too weak to move.' The UN human rights body has demanded that human rights monitors be deployed in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank so that any violations of international law can be documented independently. Separately, the UN's head of humanitarian affairs, John Holmes, said it was 'extremely disappointing' that so far the resolution had been ignored by both sides." Full Story @ BBC News.





Give Peace A Chance (Phunk Investigation Mix) - ONO

Jon Stewart once more asks the tough questions no one dares to: Why are both parties following the same party line? (removed the embedded player because it was causing some glitches, follow the link to the video).



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