WHY WE FORGET
written by michelle bok
Waiting for my train, I flick through the news of the world on my New York Times app, its articles passing through the crowded station of my mind like so many subway cars. Suddenly, my thumb puts the brakes on the dizzying feed of humanity. Breaking News, Attack in Afghanistan Kills 10 From Charity That Clears Land Mines. It’s one of those sobering headlines that stops you where you are, that reminds you of your exact time and place in history and how lucky you are that you are reading about a tragedy and not being read about.
That was back in September of 2021. At the time, countless television commentators and newspaper columnists shook their fingers with solemn impotence; users on social media platforms called for protests and rallies against the Taliban and its benighted policies against women and LGBTQ. Yet, six months later, outrage and resolve have abated, and the same people who were aghast at Afghanistan now peacefully go about their day without a second’s thought to what is presumably still occurring there. Before Afghanistan, it was George Floyd’s murder and the BLM movement in the United States; after Afghanistan, it was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: subway cars just passing through, capturing our attention before they get pushed forward by other horrors, other atrocities: the latest being the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Such systemic apathy is the driving momentum that rots our society day after day. A sudden spark that people exploit to demonstrate their “social responsibility” that quickly fades into dust. The Israel-Palestinian conflict is no different, which has been calcified by a divisive history that exacerbates the religious and social differences between these two groups. Comprehending the grand scope of the conflict and weighing the merits of both sides depends on the perspective that one takes; no possible solution can satisfy the various stakeholders in the conflict, peacemakers and combatants alike. Yet, the core issue is not about judging who is in the wrong and who should be economically sanctioned as a result of their actions. In the digital age, we have the means of following humanitarian issues as they unfold in real time. But the real trick lies in maintaining our commitment and our attention to these events so that something meaningful can arise. We cannot let the news cycle distract us from our goals. We need to remember lest we forget.
Designed by Anneabella Pioquid
Designed by Anneabella Pioquid
THE FORMATION OF MODERN-DAY ISRAEL
written by rosalyn brady
The Israel-Palestine conflict, while still ongoing today, is rooted in a long period of history.
The place we know today as ‘Israel’ has endured over a millennium of colonization - first by the Roman and Byzantine Empires, in 136 and 390 respectively, then by the Arab Empire in about 635, before consistently being fought over between 1099 and 1291 during the Crusades and attempted Mongol invasions, and then ruled over by an Egyptian class of knights known as Mamluks as a province of Syria until 1517, when Ottoman Sultan Selim the first conquered the territory.
After the First World War, the Ottoman Empire dissolved, and the territory now known as Israel came under joint British, French, and Arab martial law, or military control. This lasted until 1923, when the British Mandate came into effect, transferring what is today known as Israel to under British rule as Mandatory Palestine.
During this time, many Jewish immigrants immigrated to Mandatory Palestine fleeing the Greco-Turkish War, anti-Semitism and persecution 6 in Eastern Europe and Germany, and the United States Immigration Act of 1924 restricting accessibility, among other circumstances. The Palestinian Arab population was growing discontent at the influx of Jewish immigration, which they saw as a threat to their own self-determination. This gave rise to the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt, a nationalistic Palestinian Arab uprising directed at independence from Britain and the restriction of immigration, which in turn escalated tensions between Jewish and Arab Palestinians.
These revolts and tensions were very taxing on Britain, and after considering various methods with which to provide independence to Palestine, Britain turned the matter over to the United Nations in 1947. The United Nations drafted Resolution 181 (II) of 1947, proposing a partition of Mandatory Palestine into two separate, independent states: a Palestinian Arab state and a Jewish state.
This did not last forever. Tensions between Jewish and Arab Palestinians had not de-escalated, and were instead exacerbated by the partition. The religiously significant area surrounding Palestine remained under the United Nations’ control, which the Palestinian Arab population regarded as unfairly in favour of the Jewish population. This causes proper combat to break out, beginning with irregular bands affiliated with the Arab Liberation Army- and volunteers from other Arab countries. Jewish forces began a counterattack in March 1948, and on May 14, 1948, when the British withdrew all claims to what it had known as Mandatory Palestine, the Jewish leadership declared the formation of the state of Israel; they had consistently defeated Palestinian forces, annexed Palestinian land, and displaced around 700,000 Palestinian Arabs.
Though an armistice came into effect, tensions remained high, causing border disputes that led to guerilla attacks by Palestinian insurgents and counterattacks by Israel, and air-and-artillery combat between Israel and Syria, until they escalated in June 1967, when Israel launched air strikes and a ground offensive which began the Six-Day War, in which Israel seized the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, and East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan.
Since then, there have been decades of Palestinian revolt, including Palestinian wars of attrition to retake Sinai and other territories such as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and two Palestinian uprisings known as ‘intifadas’. This conflict is ongoing today, with the Gaza Strip being subjected to continued airstrikes and its residents subjected to forced evictions, meaningless detainment, and other unfair treatment, which is considered apartheid.
Unfortunately, the formation of what is today Israel has exacerbated the conflict between Israel and Palestine. While Jewish and Arab populations have lived on that land for centuries, and Britain promised that an Arab state would be established that included Palestine, only Israel is recognized today - and it has used this position to annex rightful Palestinian land. This conflict is one of rights to Palestinian self-determination and territory, and we must hope that Palestine wins its fight for what Israeli aggression stole from its people.
written by umar mohammad
Acrostic poem titled “Keffiyeh”.
The symbol of palestinian resistance, usually worn around the head or the chest.
There is only one factory that produces keffiyeh in Palestine. The part behind the keffiyeh embroidery is associated with the pattern of an olive tree. It symbolises revolution,and emphasizes the palestinian identity.
Kismet can be changed
Emancipated is the wearer, as they
Flaunt the monochrome olive tree
Fighting for breath
Invincible to adversary, roots older than
Yore, older than occupation
Endless in effort and
Hope against hegemony
Designed by Anneabella Pioquid
Designed by Anneabella Pioquid
WAYS TO SUPPORT PALESTINE
written by emma ferraro
As the tragedies of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continue to ensue, many individuals from other countries wonder what they can do to best support the victims that need help now. It is sometimes difficult to know exactly where to start when lending a helping hand; below is a simple yet comprehensive guide of what you can do from your home to help victims living thousands of miles away.
The most direct way to help is by donation. Here are some organizations that you can donate to in order to help victims:
Doctors Without Borders is an international organization that saves countless lives with the medical care that it puts forth for countries in need of humanitarian assistance. They work with over 70 countries, in addition to Palestinian territories, and have been substantially helpful for all of which in times of great need.
Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF) is a nonprofit organization based in the United States that sponsors teams of medical volunteers that directly treat Palestinian children who were tragically injured or have fallen ill in the conflict. This is done for free and conveniently, as they have built two pediatric cancer departments in Gaza and the West Bank. They have treated tens of thousands of children and young adults and are continuing to do so as the conflict continues.
Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) is an organization that provides “preventative, curative, and rehabilitative health care” to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and refugee camps. They are an NGO with over 4,000 employees and 20,000 volunteers, and have been a crucial help during times of great need in Palestine.
If donation is not an option for you, there are plenty of other ways to get involved in helping the situation.
The first is as simple as taking the time to learn. Some useful resources are Omar Barghouti’s book titled “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights.” This book is extremely informative on the gravity of the situation, and truly is a great first step to gaining a cohesive understanding. In addition, The United Nations, Britannica, and The History Channel are three very insightful and informative sources for acquiring more knowledge.
Another option is to be an advocate. Writing to elected officials, corporate heads, newspapers, and policy makers about assistance on a larger scale as a community, territory, or country is another significant way to make an impact. These pieces of writing will bring attention to this situation and encourage people to make a change.
In such tragic times, any assistance in any way possible will help those who need it the most.