Why Palestine?: “What about ...”

Why Palestine?: “What about ...”

by Omid Safi


“what about Syria?” “What about Iraq?” “What about…”

These are questions that those of us who have spoken out again and again about the massacres going on in Palestine are asked.

Here is what I say:

If you are a Syrian, or an Iraqi, or someone—anyone—who has demonstrated compassion for the people of Iraq and Syria, yes! Absolutely, you have every right to ask and demand that all of us continue to expand our circle of compassion to encompass the whole of humanity, including the unimaginable suffering in Syria and Iraq.

The image attached here is not from Gaza, though it could be.
It is from Syria, beloved Syria. The other image is not from Gaza, though it could be. It is from Iraq, beloved Iraq.

But…

If you are an apologist for the Israeli state calling attention to Iraq/Syria to deflect attention from the ongoing Israeli massacre in Gaza… go away.
Go away and probe your own conscience.
Go away and wonder what happened to your own morality.
Go away and wonder how you got to the point that your defense for “I stand with Israel” is to put yourself on the same side of the moral compass as a genocidal bloodthirsty dictator like Bashar al-Assad, or a murderous terrorist organization like ISIS.
What does that say about the morality of the state with whom you “stand”?

So unless you stand up for peace & justice inside the Occupied Palestinian territories, inside “Israel proper”,
unless you speak out against the occupation,
unless you speak out against Israeli assaults against Lebanon and Iran,

don’t bother talking to me about your concern about Syria and Iraq because you have no moral credibility.

To gain that credibility, stand up and be counted now in the massacres going on in your name.

Why Palestine?

Not because Palestinian lives are more precious than Syrian lives or Iraqi lives, or for that matter Israeli lives or American lives.

Each and every single human life has exactly and identically the same intrinsic worth, being made in the image of God (Biblical language), carrying the breath of God (Qur’anic language) inside.

Why Palestine?

It is because of Palestine’s standing as a symbol and reality of one of the last remnants of settler colonialism for decades.

For those of us in America who raise our voice again and again—and are not going to stop—it is also because billions of our tax dollars are directly going to drop bombs on defenseless children. So we have an additional burden to speak, to act, to mobilize, to stop this atrocity.

Yes, America has a perverted “special relationship” with Israel that both arms this heavily militarized society and provides political cover for any and all Israeli assaults.

And we as the people of America have a “Special responsibility” to oppose that pathology, that tyranny, that injustice and speak out with all of our heart, all of our might, and all of our soul.

May we grow to be moral people, principled people, people who connect our suffering to the suffering of others, and look for God among the brokenhearted.

May the people of Palestine be liberated.
May the people of Iraq be liberated.
May the people of Syria be liberated.
May the whole of humanity be liberated.


SOURCE: Omid Safi’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ostadjaan?ref=hl


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