What is the value of a human life? To me that seems to be the big question...really since about September 11, 2001, with both wars on Iraq (especially the second one where I led both marches against that war here in Ottawa) and when in 2006 when Israel essentially flattened Lebanon's infrastructure (this list was obviously not in consecutive order).
In 2006 it for some reason became more than a little apparent to me that the lives of two Israeli soldiers all of a sudden mattered more than those of the majority of the Lebanese population. And maybe not even all of a sudden...I think I just woke up despite having always been aware of what was going on. I became aware of and began to take ownership of my identity. I began to focus on what was going on. On both sides of the border. When Israel could send any amount of force into it's Lebanon's airspace and assault the Lebanese population at will. Arab lives then did not count for much...because two Israeli soldiers had been taken. Because their lives were considered more valuable than anyone else's. Arab lives did not matter then.
Now I want to clarify...I think that any violence and subsequent loss of life is terrible. Some violence can be considered justified. I'm not going to go into why who was taken and how frequently this happens. I'm also not going to get into the issue of Gaza and Israel's constant assault/collective punishment of the Gazan Palestinian population. You all know where I stand on this atrocious issue. You all know I want this to stop. You all know how much I hate Israel's violations of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child where it comes to Palestinian children. And you all know how much I worry about my friends when the bombings begin and until they end and I've checked in with everyone to see if they're ok. Enough said (but if you don't know, check the preceeding blog entries).
Many of you reading this post are aware of what Israel's tactics are in southern Lebanon as well as within Gaza. That issue in itself could warrant a whole blog post on its own. But the devaluing of life based on ethnicity or religion is an issue that I do not believe is discussed enough. It's an issue that is avoided. Much like the manner in which criticism of Israel is avoided by much of the world. Out of fear. People turn a blind eye to injustices where it pertains to the Israel/Palestine or Israel/Lebanon situation.
So now I spend a lot of time online. Disseminating information on Palestine...and Egypt and Libya. I watch, I listen, I learn, I pass on what I find. I watch a lot of YouTube.
I have seen that to the state of Israel...or Israhell, an Arab life counts little to nothing when it stands in the way of Israel's constant need to acquire/steal more land, to ethnically divide, to subdue, to smother dissent. Even if this dissent was peaceful and more than justified. I have watched videos of IDF soldiers abusing kids, abusing adults. I have watched on YouTube as the racist, murderous occupiers (otherwise known as Israeli settlers) have hurt and murdered Palestinians. And the whole time I keep thinking 'how would you feel if this happened to your child? To your cousin? To our mother and/or father'.' How would I feel? And why don't these vile occupiers consider this? How can they be so cruel? Why are all lives not equally valued? How can they watch this child cry as they hurt him or her? How can they put Palestinian parents through such pain and sorrow? How can they?
And I listen to what the media and our government here in Canada tells me. And what I hear and have heard for the last 10-15 years is alarming. If you are Arab or Muslim this government will not necessarily protect you against injustices. In fact they won't protect you and will make it more than a little difficult for you to regain your life and liberty.
If you are pro-Palestine and part of the Flotilla to go to break the siege on Gaza, this government goes out of its way to let you know that it will not help you should you get into trouble. If you are a child and happen to be both Arab and Muslim and were a child soldier, this government will neither protect you nor help you. If you have the wrong name at the airport, this government will allow you to be harrassed mercilessly at times.
This government does not care about you if you are someone like me. My life, my quality of life, my human rights...they do not matter because of the way I look, what my name is or was and my heritage. My life and lives like mine do not count and are considered expendable by some. And that is yet another reason why I fight!
I have decided to include a YouTube video titled 'I am Israel' in this post. It is harsh. It is horrible. But what it shows simply should not be!
The answer to what the value of a human life is should be obvious. It has always been there and has never changed no matter what the global community will or will not acknowledge. No matter what the state of Israel tries to silence and sell to the international community. No matter what!
ALL LIFE IS PRICELESS! AND ALL LIFE SHOULD BE EQUALLY VALUED!
~ Sofia Smith