Gaza: Where Are the Arab Convoys?

By Ahmad Barqawi

Something happened in Gaza that shook the very core of my foundation and being. If this is what the ‘progress’ and ‘evolution’ of the human species have yielded so far, then I don’t even want to imagine what our fated future is holding in store for us.

It gives me shudders to think that I am living in a day and age where rationalizing the bombing of unaided infants and children audaciously live on T.V. is just as effortless as opening a soda can; all you have to do is throw in broad and ambiguous justifications -the most common one of course being “Fighting Terrorism” – and you’re automatically immune against the slightest form of protest, condemnation or even friendly critique.

The Viva Palestina convoy arrived last night to its final destination after a long and heroic journey leaving us emotionally jam-packed with feelings of gratitude not only as Arabs or supporters of the Palestinian cause but also as human beings, for the flicker of hope this convoy has symbolized; that there is still goodness in humanity after all amid the never-ending injustice and cold materialism that seem to have become the most common characterization of our world as of late; a world that has gone a stray for more than 60 years turning its back on all sorts of massacres and atrocities in our region and elsewhere; a world that’s growing even more vile and prejudiced with each and every new American administration. Real hope and change can be found in everyone who contributed to the success of this convoy; from the organizers to the donors; the drivers; the loaders and even those who prayed for it to reach the people of Gaza; that’s real hope and change if you ask me. (With all do respect for President Obama and his promises of "hope and Change", which I can assure you do not even remotely concern us and our righteous issues.)

This convoy left me wondering though; what about the Arab convoys? The Gaza aid conference held in Cairo is of course respectable and beneficial in theory and in its essence, but one can’t help but feel doubtful; that the declarations of pledged billons of dollars worth of aid and donations will never materialize; at least not in the foreseeable future, not to mention the problematic issues it raises about the rightful receiving end of these donations and the political conditions and prerequisites tied to it; especially in these times of global financial meltdowns; the notion that any country undergoing a likely long term severe recession and on the verge of a national economic failure will contribute these huge amounts of money for the rebuilding of Gaza without seeking political gains is preposterous; especially that some of these donors played a questionable part (to say the least) in the war on the strip.

It’s not too hard nor too impossible for the Arab league to come up with a way to send available aids directly to the people of Gaza just like the Viva Palestina convoy; free of bogus bureaucratic non-sense as it should be; a severe humanitarian crisis –which is worsening by the hour- calls for little room for dirty politics and more room for… well humanitarian work! Sadly it is highly unlikely that this will happen; and that leaves us as Arabs with a feeling of amputation and emptiness as a part of this nation; are we allowed to turn our backs on what’s happening only few kilometers away from where we take our lavish lifestyle for granted? Of course we genuinely sympathize during news broadcasts; but alas it doesn’t go far beyond that most of the time; and we may find blood-tainted solace hidden in those demonic little moments where we secretly relish the fact that we’re not trapped in a land of starvation and conflict cursing those who would be assuming the exact same role we are so contently drowning in right now. People in Gaza everyday go to bed hungry, injured, sick, mutated, homeless, orphaned and widowed; the fact that it’s not always shown on TV does not mean that it’s not real; it is real and it happens on a daily basis but we’ve just become too self-absorbed to the point where we actually need a huge wake up call, one that is sadly as huge as the latest massacre in the strip just to grasp – for a while- the reality of the grave unjust befallen on our people of Palestine only to fall back again and silently wait for the next genocide.

What happened on 27th of last December has left little room for the imagination of the harm that Israel is able to inflict; our denial has reached epidemic proportions or what some might call “a terminal case of just not caring”.

The Arab league should’ve taken the chance and arranged for a similar aid convoy (or could’ve simply urged Egypt to open the Rafah border altogether) but instead we severely imperiled our already vulnerable portfolio of past verbal commitments to our cause and exposed how helpless they are against forgetfulness.

I still wonder how many children tried to shake their parents awake?

-Ahmad Barqawi contributed this article to

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