Following the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti last week, 13th January, in which hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives, the expected donations of humanitarian aid and emergency relief supplies have poured in from all corners of the globe.
However, one of the most touching outpourings of sympathy and aid has come from the most unexpected source. Gaza. In a region so desperately troubled itself, the people of Gaza have gathered assistance such as blankets, food, milk and what little money they have to send to the victims of the Haiti earthquake disaster. Seeing children in Gaza, who already have so little, join together to help people who they have never even seen, in a country they have probably never even heard of is moving indeed. There has been a group of donors working in Gaza striving to gather and send off this aid including the People’s Popular Committee Against the Siege and the families and children of prisoners in Israeli jails.
This demonstrates the fact that, despite all of the difficulty and trauma that they have been subjected to, the people of Palestine have not lost their humanity. They still understand the common, human impulse to help those in need, whoever and wherever they may be. This sends out a very positive image of the state of the human condition of those in Gaza. However, in complete contrast to this is the state of Israel who immediately boasted about sending out aid and medical teams to help the victim’s of the earthquake and yet are themselves the instigators and sustainers of one of the worst modern humanitarian crises in the world, on their own doorstep. It seems, in many ways, hypocritical for them to try and promote themselves as a humanitarian nation and to send teams racing across the globe to help the victims in Haiti while they themselves are imprisoning, occupying, abusing and keeping under siege a nation not even a stone’s throw away from where they live.
This is not to say that the people in Haiti should not be sent assistance from every possible source, however corrupt and displeasing that source may be; it is merely to point out the contradiction in Israel’s “humanitarianism”. If the children of Gaza can see the importance of reaching out and helping others then shouldn’t Israel be able to see the importance of reaching out and helping the children of Gaza?
Below are some exclusive pictures from MEMO.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad