Their Memory Lingers On

Gaza Bombings

Their Memory Lingers On

Submitted by: Ibrahim Yusuf
Compiled: February 2009

“A little boy, no more than five, was rushed into the ER alive, but with charred lower limbs, a badly burned head and loops of intestine hanging outside of his burst abdomen.”

Any news updates on this case will be listed at the foot of this item

Richard Horton wrote an article for The New York Review of Books entitled The Palestinian Medical crisis. With the unrestrained and uninflected language of medicine whilst maintaining the cool sensibility of a doctor he documented the humanitarian crisis that was occurring and has now been accelerated in Palestine. All of his statistics and figures could not compare with the anecdotes about children being brought in to hospitals:

“A little boy, no more than five, was rushed into the ER alive, but with charred lower limbs, a badly burned head and loops of intestine hanging outside of his burst abdomen.”

Horton did not descend into gore or prurience. The medical facts speak for themselves and are relentless. Given so many children in Gaza it makes for all the more depressing news. Horton’s article offers a deep reading of the human suffering that has been thrust to the Palestinian people for over half a century. Like Ian McEwan says of aspiring doctor Robbie Turner in Atonement, Horton is “alive to the monstrous patterns of fate and to the vain and comic denial of the inevitable…”

In a recent article, the columnist/writer Roger Cohen who penned the brilliant “Hearts Grown Brutal: Sagas of Sarajevo” eloquently conveyed his despair at the continuing and growing situation in Gaza:

“Never before have I felt so despondent about Israel, so shamed by its actions, so despairing of any peace that might terminate the dominion of the dead in favour of opportunity for the living.”

When people take such heavy feelings to marches and rallies it is understandable there is anger. In attendance at the main protests I was appalled to witness brutal and unnecessarily violent policing.

There was a large police presence at all the recent demonstrations, yet on the 10th January 2009 it turned nasty. Penning people into the high street with barriers on either side built up the pressure and left the public at a standstill. The police had protective helmets with visors on whilst donning Balaclavas. None of the police that I saw had their badge numbers on display.

Once Starbucks had been decimated, they felt the need to target a mass crowd of people by cordoning off an entire area penning in a few hundred people. Holding demonstrators, many who had done nothing wrong, the police refused to let people go.

They began to individually take people, escorted with an officer holding each arm, to a CCTV camera to be filmed, photographed or both. Officers demanded their names, address and date of birth.

Some were then searched and not given records of their search which officers must give. The mainstream press, including the BBC and all the major broadsheet newspapers did not report on what actually happened.

Though the press seems adept at reporting injuries sustained by three police officers it left out the public. Many had also witnessed the violent conduct of the police.

The type of tactics used over the last couple of weeks has been utterly appalling. The Met should be brought to account in some way, particularly over the use of Section 60’s and Section 14 declarations made outside the Israeli embassy. Pushing kids as young as eleven against shop windows, taking their details and reacting aggressively to legal observers attempting to see whether they [were] alright is unacceptable.


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