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Friday, April 19, 2024
The Observer

Genocide occurs in silence

“[I don’t know] how long I will live so I just want this to be my memory here before I die. I am not going to leave my home, come what may. My biggest regret is not kissing this one guy. He died two days back. We had told how much we like each other and I was too shy to kiss last time. He died in the bombing. I think a big part of me died too. And soon I will be dead. To Younus, I will kiss you in heaven.”

There are no words that can possibly begin to express what is taking place before our eyes. The horrors that are unfolding are more terrible than anyone could ever imagine. And in the face of all the atrocities, what we find is the most ridiculous discourse.

We speak of the complexity of history, of geopolitical stability, of economic relations. We argue for self-defense technicalities and diplomatic exchanges and U.S. policies. We speak and speak and speak, treating the issue as a nuanced one. The reasons and context may be. However, there is nothing complicated about genocide. 

The words above were written anonymously on the website Queering the Map by a person residing in the Gaza Strip. With the Palestinian median age being 18 years old, the author was most likely a teenager or young adult, around college age. They were Palestinian and a member of the LGBTQ community. They loved Younus, even after he was murdered. They lived in Beit Hanoun, a city of 52,237 northeast of Gaza. As of October 26th, Beit Hanoun no longer exists. The entire city was obliterated by Israeli airstrikes. Of the tightly packed streets, only ash and rubble remain. No hospital, school or religious building was spared. Indiscriminately, innocent men, women and children were slaughtered. it's possible, the author was too. 

Of their cheer, fears and dreams, only their words remain. May they haunt those who allowed this to happen. 

Tell me, how is the world a safer place now that Younus was murdered? Why was his life cut short, his life destroyed and his history hurried? What is the point? What is the goal? Have we won? Shall we cheer now that he is dead? Have we achieved world peace? Everyone, pack it up! Clap for us, for we are the victors! Why, only the righteous could possibly remain.

I beg of you to answer the former questions honestly, for I certainly cannot understand why. I cannot understand why this is the path we have chosen to support. I speak of we, for you and I alike, finance this genocide. 

In total, the United States government has provided Israel with $124 billion in aid since World War II and recently has repeatedly enforced its position of unconditional support for the genocidal regime. U.S. President Joe Biden speaks of Israel’s “right to defend itself” yet under no definition, illusion, or depraved act of lunacy can these racially and religiously motivated massacres we witness be considered such a thing. 

We may now stop kidding ourselves: no act of self-defense could possibly depend on the brutal annihilation of an entire people off the face of this planet. When the United Nations, Amnesty International and international law scholars all plead for a degree of moral sense to be found, for Israel’s repeated war crimes to cease, for human rights to be remembered, how are we still attempting to obfuscate the reality? This is not a war, not a “have to listen to both perspectives” argument. This is a one-sided ethnic cleansing sponsored by our very own tax dollars and many members of the international community. This is genocide, as simple as that.

“I’ve always imagined you and me sitting out in the sun, hand [in] hand, free at last. We spoke of all the places we would go if we could. Yet you are gone now. If I had known that bombs raining down on us would take you from me, I would have gladly told the world how I adored you more than anything. I’m sorry I was a coward.”

The text above is another excerpt, another story, another possibly-dead innocent soul in Gaza retrieved from the same website

Genocide occurs in silence. So, listen to their voices. When they are gone from this cursed world that tossed them to the side, let their voices be heard for centuries to come. 

Naturally, I mean not to justify the actions of Hamas. Why, I will even utter the buzzwords idiotic individuals crave: I condemn Hamas — the murder of innocents is unconscionable. Yet we apparently have refused to learn the lessons of history: violence begets violence. What we witness is not a solution but the sowing of the next greater conflict. Even if every single Hamas member is located and executed, if in the process you exterminate a child’s entire extended family, neighborhood and academic class, it will not be the least surprising when they ensure a successor to Hamas is born.

However, Israel does have a response to this: just kill the children, too! In less than a month, the amount of reported murdered children has crossed a minimum of 4,000. That number is greater than that of my entire Notre Dame class of 2026. These numbers are unacceptable; all of those who argue otherwise should forever feel a great, terrible shame. 

Yet a very special degree of shame shall befall on Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who on this very campus not only predicted but psychopathically advocated for this slaughter. He is the primordial example of the irredeemable, utilitarian and ultimately moronic perspective many in power adhere to that this is some inevitable bump on the road, yet another little incident that, while a bit sad, sure, we will brush over.

Hell has a spot reserved for them.

So shame on them and every single member of the U.S. and Israeli government perpetuating the massacres. Shame on Father Jenkins and this university that claims to adhere to Catholic values of peace yet paradoxically and unforgivably in a statementsaid it “stands with Israel.” Shame on some of my fellow Viewpoint writers who so callously attempted to argue innocent Palestinians simply deserved this fate.

But most of all, shame on humanity. We will deserve what comes. 

Tareq Hajjaj, a local Palestinian reporter, in his heart-shattering piece titled “This could be my last report from Gaza” writes:

“My message to everyone who reads these lines is to remember that the most powerful countries in the world are killing civilians in Gaza. Do not believe them when they speak about human rights and humanity. They have no humanity. We begged them over the past 17 years to break our siege. They never listened. Yet they are rushing to kill us.

Keep my stories alive so that you keep me alive. Remember that I wanted a normal life, a small home full of my children’s laughter and the smell of my wife’s cooking. Remember that the world that pretended to be the savior of humanity participated in killing such a small dream.

Remember me, as I prepare myself to leave this world by force and go to a better one – one where the U.S. and Israel do not exist.”

Carlos A. Basurto is a sophomore at Notre Dame ready to delve into his philosophy major with the hopes of adding the burden of a Computer Science major on top of that. When not busy you can find him consuming yet another 3+ hour-long analysis video of a show he has yet to watch or masochistically completing every achievement from a variety of video games. Now, with the power to channel his least insane ideas, feel free to talk about them via email at cbasurto@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.