Human hierarchies

Published April 8, 2024
The writer is a journalis
The writer is a journalis

WE have witnessed horrors over the past six months. We have seen entire families decimated at the press of a button. We have seen entire bloodlines of Palestinians erased from the earth to slake Israel’s bloodlust. We have seen hungry men and women rushing for aid only to be gunned down and then blamed for their own deaths. We have seen humans crushed flat by tanks and bulldozers.

We have seen children hunted like mice through the ruins of Gaza, joyfully sniped by Israeli soldiers playing their murderous games, the same soldiers who — joyfully — pose with the lingerie of Palestinian women they have murdered or displaced. They proudly advertise their atrocities, filming TikToks where they mock their victims, eat their food, desecrate their homes, mosques and bodies. They are celebrated for it by a society suffering from a deep sickness of the soul, a country where trophies like the passport of a dead or displaced Gazan child is sold on Facebook, where IDF soldiers post pictures of themselves brutalisng Palestinians on their dating profiles and get hundreds of matches from women excited by this display of barbarism.

All this has happened with hardly a mention on Western mainstream media, and with the barest wringing of hands in Western capitals. And that’s because there are hierarchies to human lives. There are some — mostly brown, mostly living in the Global South — who are born to be killed. Their lives are pointless, unworthy of comment or eulogy and in death they simply become statistics of the sort that can be easily ignored. Most of the time, they aren’t even killed; they simply die in unexplained explosions apparently caused by no one. Their children’s lives are cut short by bullets that seemingly travel through time and space of their own volition. They don’t really matter, and their deaths barely elicit a statement of concern from the worthies that run this world. We know this but the knowing brings us no solace, only sorrow.

Proof, if we needed any, was supplied when the Israeli army ‘triple-tapped’ an aid convoy of the World Central Kitchen, killing brave and selfless aid workers who hailed not from the disposable countries but from the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Poland. This was, of course, ‘unacceptable’ and led to relatively loud condemnation of Israel with even the usually supine ‘do you condemn Hamas/ Israel has a right to defend itself’ sections of the US media treating Israeli government spokespeople with the same ire they usually reserve for Palestinians who have lost their entire families.

There are some, mostly in the Global South, who are born to be killed.

Prominently, the hosts of America’s President Joe ‘more Zionist than the Zionists’ Biden’s favourite show, Morning Joe, tore into Israel’s minister of the economy for Israel’s handling of the war in Gaza. Biden finally called for a ceasefire, reportedly threatened to condition future aid to Israel on how it addresses concerns and pressured Israel into opening the Erez crossing into Gaza, allowing a few trucks of aid in. This proved that American pressure could make Israel change course.

But don’t think for a moment that this is any lasting change of heart where Biden is concerned; he’s too old and too rigid in his hawkish views to ever change. It is, however, an indication of the pressure he now feels, given that Western citizens have been killed and that his chances of re-election seem dimmer. It also helps, of course, that the founder of the WCH, Jose Andre, is a well-known and well-connected figure in Washington, D.C.

Just a day after Biden called for an ‘immediate ceasefire’, the politicians-for-hire of America step­ped up with choreographed messages of unconditional supp­o­­rt for Israel. Politi­ci­ans like Brad Sherman, the democratic Cong­ressman, whom many Pakistanis recently be­came acquainted with, tweeted not just to exonerate Israel of blame but also to indirectly place the blame on WCH itself. This isn’t surprising since Sherman is one of the many hired guns of Israel in the US Congress, and has received upwards of $700,000 over his career from pro-Israel interest groups. Other known Israeli mouthpieces like Richie Torres (over a million dollars from pro-Israel groups) also chipped in as did Republican Ted Cruz and many others.

Speaking of AIPAC and its allies, Biden stands out as the highest recipients of funds from pro-Israel lobbies, clocking over $11m from various Israeli lobbies over the course of his career. Increasingly, though there are voices calling out AIPAC in the US, something that was unthinkable fairly recently, and these voices will only grow in volume. Change is coming, but slowly and with a lot of pushback.

In the meantime, American citizens can take solace in the fact that if Israel were to kill them, the majority of the US political establishment would immediately rally to the defence of Israel.

The writer is a journalist.

X: @zarrarkhuhro

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2024

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