Last week I was shocked to see a report about an American school using a quote from Hitler on an advertising billboard. It read: “He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future”
This is certainly proving true in Gaza.
While working in there in 2010, I requested some of my students, who were from affluent families, to write essays on the topic of “My Hope for the Future”
My intent was to capture the bright hopes of young people who are cut off from having a normal relationship with most of the world. My intent was to let their voices be heard so they wouldn’t feel so oppressed by the forces at work around them. Even two-and-a-half years after Operation Cast Lead, these children had not received the post-trauma care that many of them needed, having been eye-witnesses to the horrors of war.
I know many well-meaning “peace activists” who try to convince themselves and others that the hatred of Israel is actually only a hatred of policies and military actions, and not actually a hated of the people themselves.
From a grade 8 student, I read a different story:
“the most greatest thing I will do I will free Palestine because it is in an occupation and the stupid Israelis. WE HATE THEM they suck.
First thing is: am gonna to go the Israelis with some friends and with us lots of gun like fire arms, lots of them. We will kill the President then we will kill all of the Israelis and have no one I mean no one at all and of course, we get the other Peace of the city of Palestine. So we go everyday to this city and go to the mall and let all of the poor people to get the homes of the Israeli people and their money and all the poor people will be rich.”
This is from a child who has no idea of poverty. This is from a CHILD.
As I looked through these essays, I was disturbed to find this was not an anomaly but a trend.
These children have witnessed terrible things but instead of healing, are having their trauma taken advantage of, turning them into carriers of hate.
When I was in Israel and spoke with people there, I noticed no-one was consumed with such hatred regarding the people of Gaza. I realize these children don’t speak for everyone, but if privileged children from more educated families are vehemently expressing such hate and murder in a school essay, what about the children from lesser educated families? Or families with more extreme viewpoints?
Since leaving, young people who had expressed hopes for peace are now attacking me for daring to suggest that Israeli soldiers are actually human who show compassion even to Palestinians. The hate and anger directed at me suggests that no such compassion would be shown in reverse.
These children will continue to develop ideals like this 13-year old if people continue to convince them they are perpetual victims who need not take any responsibility for their path in life. They are applauded for committing acts of violence, even well compensated as has been documented over and over again.
This is not a game. Real lives are at stake. Real people. What about the innocent Israelis that this 13-year has plans for? There is such hypocrisy in the “pro Palestinian” movements, especially those whose focus is Gaza. They are screaming about ethnic cleansing in Gaza, whose population continues to increase, while thinking nothing of this child’s essay that clearly states her plan for the ethnic cleansing of Israelis. They consider her a victim, and she is. But make no mistake – she is being targeted, not by Israel, but by those who profit from her pain and her trauma. She is targeted by those within and outside Gaza, who take children like her and focus their anger, hatred and fury on Israel.
This 13-year old girl should be talking about the silly things that 13-year olds talk about, rather than killing Israelis.
The people who take pleasure in this girl’s story are the monsters. They are perpetuating a conflict that will see no end, as long as generations are brought up in an environment of such seething hatred.
They will continue to maintain they are innocent. They will claim it is me who has strayed, and not them. Perhaps if they understood the true nature of the mood and intent widely accepted in Gaza, they might think twice. I know I did.
As for me personally, many of these so called “peace activists” have engaged in an online campaign that is as good as calling for my death. If they actually understood the context in which they are making their outrageous claims, they would realize (and perhaps still not care) that what they are doing is making a case for my murder.
I am by now in a position where I have authorities looking out for me because the threat is real – and it has been incited to a large extent by so called “peace activists” who believe that everyone in Gaza is an innocent victim needing to be defended.
If anyone is truly committed to peace, then they cannot defend such generational violence. Before anyone defends their role as a peace activist, they first need to be clear whether they are going to defend this kind of violence or denounce it.