It’s Diwali next week, but a moving story from the Gaza Strip has left people terribly restless. A young girl was discovered by rescuers in the wreckage of a structure that had been hit by multiple bombs. Who was this girl, covered in blood, no one knew? She was shifted immediately to a hospital in the area. When the girl’s blood-stained face was wiped clean, another injured girl named Zoya being treated on the bed next to hers cried out in pain that she was her sister Zara. Even though they were in excruciating pain, a smile appeared on the faces of both the girls. Their parents were probably killed in the bomb attack. Just imagine about the lives of these girls or scores of other children like them!
When Hamas hit Israel with rockets, I had expressed apprehension that Israel would retaliate now and the innocents in Gaza will have to bear the brunt. The bombs and missiles falling from the sky will not be able to differentiate between Hamas’ base and the residents of innocent people. Sadly, my apprehensions are coming true. Thousands of people have been killed. Over 4,000 of the victims are children. Thousands of people have been incapacitated, having lost their hands, legs or eyes. What Hamas did was savage and what Israel is doing in retribution is no less cruel.
I know that the people trapped in Gaza are not my relatives, family members, brothers, sisters or children, but how can I forget that they are all human beings like me too? I live in the country of Lord Mahavir, Lord Buddha and Gandhi, for whom humanity was the most important religion. I am a resident of India which lives by the credo of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and considers the entire world to be its family. Therefore, if humanity dies anywhere across the world, we will undoubtedly be pained! I have visited the places in Germany where Jews were massacred by Hitler and the fire of which still burns in the hearts of Jews. It is critical to understand that vengeance devours everything. And therefore, we must embrace humanity keeping aside vengeance and considerations like caste, religion and race in order to unite the world as one family. But the world today is embroiled in the web of ideologies and what we are witnessing now is its disgusting manifestation.
I’ve visited the Gaza Strip.
This area, about 41 kilometres long and 10 kilometres wide, is one of the world’s most densely populated areas. I’m in pain now as I look at the pictures. Israeli bombings have reduced a large portion of the city to ruins. A rocket strike on a hospital killed over 500 patients. More than 55,000 people have taken refuge in another hospital called Al Shifa, but Israel claims that Hamas has a command centre in the bunkers beneath Al Shifa hospital. If this hospital is hit, it will be one of the world’s greatest tragedies. As for the hospital, it neither has medicines to treat the patients nor equipped for surgeries. As there is no electricity, emergency surgeries are being carried out in torchlight. Antibiotics and pain relievers are no longer available. Even humanitarian assistance is not getting there. A border was opened from the Egyptian side but the aid process is so slow that people are not getting relief. People are so desperate for bread that they looted a United Nations’ warehouse. These helpless people cannot be blamed as the cries of hungry children make them restless.
Israel recently asked people to leave northern Gaza and go to the south. Is it simple? There’s no place to go or stay! Bombs are also hitting the shelters. Amid the rain of bombs, Israel is now also carrying out land attacks in the Gaza Strip. This clearly indicates that the war between Hamas and Israel will drag on for a very long time and the Gaza Strip will become another Mosul.
It took nine months for Kurdish and American joint forces to liberate the Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State. Thousands of innocent people were killed. Israel is insisting that it will not cease the attack until its hostages are freed. On the other hand, the United States has approved a new budget for Israel. This budget is not meant to distribute Diwali sweets, but to rain bombs. I’m afraid that Israel may even gas the tunnels to kill the Hamas members operating underground from the Gaza Strip! Obviously, civilians will also be killed.
The United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire, but it is not binding. This issue has divided the world. Even Middle Eastern countries, which are strong supporters of Palestine, are refusing to open their doors for the people of Gaza Strip. The Hamas leaders are holed up in Qatar. They are safe from bomb attacks. It is the Palestinians who are being slaughtered, with no one in sight to stop the massacre of innocent people. Let us pray that this carnage comes to an end soon!