The tragedy of Israel bombing Gaza is not just about Gaza. It is about the militarization of Israel, the U.S. and, by extension, the rest of the world, a process that goes on behind a cloud of lies and deceptions that are repeated in our mainstream media.
Gaza is an example of how the media is part of and protects the interests of the 1%. Israel’s aggression against Gaza is portrayed as Israel’s need to defend itself. We are not told what the Israeli military did to provoke a militant response from Hamas. And we are not even supposed to imagine that Palestinians have a right to defend themselves too. Because we do not hear about Israel’s long-range Zionist goal of eliminating Arabs from the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, we lack a context for understanding what is happening in Gaza,
We are supposed to see Israel as the victim. That way we will not know that this invasion of Gaza was being planned for months. Nor will we look at what Israel is doing daily in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to steal the land, destroy the trees, demolish the homes, imprison the youth and cut the supply of water. We will not understand that we taxpayers are paying for the bombs that fall on Gaza, the Caterpillar bulldozers that are retrofitted to demolish Palestinian homes, the drones that pick out the targets in Gaza, because the U.S. gives Israel $3 billion a year in military/economic aid -- the largest aid package in the world. We need to ask ourselves why, and question this use of our resources.
In addition, Gaza is the victim of the flourishing arms industry and trading in arms by many countries, including Israel and the U.S. (read author Victor Thorn), and the need to keep testing new war toys. The siege and war on Gaza are part of the trend towards global militarization and away from democratization, as powerful elites attempt to hold on to power.
We who oppose war and want sustainable communities, must work hard to counter what is happening to Gaza and connect that issue with other issues of destruction and oppression. Here are a few of those issues.
Outsourcing jobs to countries with cheaper labor also means allowing poor working conditions. Two deadly fires last weekend in Bangladeshi clothing factories that supply Walmart and other U.S. stores are a case in point. When those workers demand their rights, Bangladeshi police will need more weapons to control them.
Our financial crisis has caused unemployment and home foreclosures in the U.S. (and in Europe), and the measures taken by banks and our government do not create jobs and save homes, but benefit the 1% while throwing more and more people out of work and home. How is it possible to rebuild our economy if people have no jobs?
We are a society that is generally afraid of people who look different from ourselves. Such fear is encouraged by a growing private prison industry that joins with racist politicians to fill their facilities with mostly young mostly Black men, with the result that the Black community is deprived of their youth and all their potential, including their voting rights. Similarly, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) promotes fear of immigrants, snatches them from their families and incarcerates them in abusive conditions, sometimes for months, before deporting them. Their stories rarely make the news.
The Bush Administration re-opened Guantanamo Prison, off shore and out of reach in Cuba, where we could secretly torture and abuse men suspected of being terrorists, and where the Obama Administration still holds 161 men, defending their indefinite detention without trial. Obama also authorizes the use of targeted assassination of suspected terrorists thus eliminating any possibility of capture, arrest and trial. Does this match with American laws and values?
In 1949, the USA founded the School of the Americas, which still operates today under a new name so as to try to hide its misdeeds. Now called WHINSEC, it is located within an American army base in the state of Georgia. Its sole purpose is to train military and police from Latin American countries in “counter-insurgency” tactics. Its graduates have been involved in almost every incidence of torturing, disappearing and murdering citizens who protest what their government is doing. Typically the victims are labor leaders, teachers, intellectuals, students and advocates for the poor. How is such programmed brutality kept out of our sight so that many of us have never heard of the School of the Americas/WHINSEC?
The Keystone XL Pipeline is to be built clear across the United States, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico to bring petroleum extracted from tar sand deposits in the North. Good jobs? Necessary fuel? Corporate profits? Many people in the path of this pipeline are protesting it day and night, because the pipeline will cost millions of dollars to build, will run dangerously close to a major aquifer, and go through pristine prairie lands which are habitat for many species. It might leak, as is frequently the case with petroleum pipelines. Extracting petroleum from tar sands requires enormous amounts of water, draining the common water table, and the used water, now full of chemicals leaches back into the water table. Do we know how much of this fuel is needed by our military, which consumes about 20 million gallons of fuel a day? (Barry Sanders) Do we citizens need this fuel to support our lifestyles?
In Central America poor countries are being sued by multi-national corporations for trying to curtail mining which (as with tar sands mining) is draining their fresh water supplies and killing off animals and plants that depend on the now polluted rivers. Company militias have murdered or disappeared farmer-activists who are organizing to close these mines. How did companies get this much lethal power?
A militarized world is not a democratic world. The destructive behaviors of corporations and governments create enemies among the people they oppress. Thus the oppressors need more weapons to control restive populations. And they need the media to keep us, the 99%, confused and uninformed. But if we want a voice in how our communities and our world will operate, we must get involved.