be brave and figure it out
Verily with the remembrance of Allah, do hearts find rest.
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David.”
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think “Do I know any Davids in Gaza?”
They call us now to say
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.
They think of it as some kind of war time courtesy.
It doesn’t matter that
there is nowhere to run to.
It means nothing that the borders are closed
and your papers are worthless
and mark you only for a life sentence
in this prison by the sea
and the alleyways are narrow
and there are more human lives
packed one against the other
more than any other place on earth
We aren’t trying to kill you.
It doesn’t matter that
you can’t call us back to tell us
the people we claim to want aren’t in your house
that there’s no one here
except you and your children
who were cheering for Argentina
sharing the last loaf of bread for this week
counting candles left in case the power goes out.
It doesn’t matter that you have children.
You live in the wrong place
and now is your chance to run
It doesn’t matter
that 58 seconds isn’t long enough
to find your wedding album
or your son’s favorite blanket
or your daughter’s almost completed college application
or your shoes
or to gather everyone in the house.
It doesn’t matter what you had planned.
It doesn’t matter who you are
Prove you’re human.
Prove you stand on two legs.
―"Running Orders" by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha
I’m going to explain this as calmly and rationally as I possibly can, for those who still don’t understand.
Using pictures of charred, mutiliated and decapitated foreign bodies as a westerner, a first worlder or someone otherwise generally not exposed to such a reality doesn’t make you brave, or radical. On the contrary, relying on such shock imagery exposes a weakness and insufficiency in being able to respectfully report on the complex geopolitical matters concerning war, which means that you shouldn’t discuss such matters to begin with. It doesn’t take anything but a google search of “dead Yemeni” or “drone strike victim” to render such photographs, especially not a reasoned comprehension of the science and politics behind calculated warfare.
You rob war victims of their autonomy, personhood, consent and lives previous to political instability when you post them bloodied or battered or dead. You make them, their nations and nuanced stories one-dimensional, which insidiously plays into the “primitive, war-stricken brown/black people” trope. You present their lives for them to the world, without understanding how they would’ve wanted it narrated. Intentional or not, there is a serious savior/imperialist complex with those who believe its within their right or capability to select photographs or brief snippets off the internet and essentially give an unsolicited account of another human being’s tribulations, of which they’ve never met, lands they’ve never visited and lives they couldn’t possibly comprehend.
Also, death is a serious consequence of war, but its hardly the only one. What most don’t seem to understand or give enough consideration to about war is that its ramifications can last several generations, whether it be through desertifed soil and subsequent food insecurity through combat, radiation to food and water due to aerial bombing and undiscovered/exploding landmines. In addition to various injuries sustained, mental illnesses, such as PTSD, GAD and depression that afflict those who survived are also a very underappreciated consequence. There are so many facets of war that hold serious weight that can be displayed without dehumanizing those affected, which are also, to no surprise, severely neglected.
War is a serious, complicated and heavily politically charged catastrophe. Without prior/proper resources and knowledge, simply posting violent and exploitative images of full fledged persons with no context or understanding is counteractive and immensely disrespectful and demeaning to the parties involved, seriously.
I’m seeing so much of this with Palestinians right now. Stop it. Your desire to “raise awareness” and make a political statement does not and can never supersede a victims right to consent, privacy and not having their suffering memorialized on the internet.
But just few minutes after the call, shells start falling down on the hospital — the fourth floor, third floor, second floor. Smoke, fire, dust all over."
― Basman Alashi, executive director of Al-Wafa Hospital, the only rehabilitation hospital in Gaza and the West Bank.
Just because I’m a Muslim woman and you’re a Muslim man doesn’t mean I will timidly shrink into the corner whenever you walk by. Keeping my gaze lowered does not mean stepping aside so you can walk freely. Having modesty doesn’t mean disappearing. I am so strong in my faith and my womanhood and I know the status of women in Islam; if anything, you should step aside for us.
The high plains of Oregon. One of my favorite areas.
Most people would never dream of touting around the dismembered bodies of White American and European kids after a mass shooting. Did you see that for Virginia Tech students? How about Columbine? Perhaps Newton?
Why? Because there’s reverence for their privacy and sympathy is innately felt, because no one needs a fucking visual aid to feel compelled to stand against violence when its against a particular populace.
But apparently, that standard erodes for Palestinian kids and “awareness campaigns” trump respect and not brandishing most likely unconsensual pictures of foreign brown children brown up to pieces, existing on social media circuits to haunt family members and trigger other survivors of war who’ve seen those images far too many times in their life.
Get it together, have some fucking integrity and keep that disrespectful shit off social media platforms.
―Ralph Waldo Emerson
―Dita Von Teese
―Dr. Gail Dines