Friday, April 2, 2010

An appeal from PACE for all of humanity: In the name of solidarity with the Palestinians

An appeal from PACE for all of humanity: In the name of solidarity with the Palestinians

It is incomprehensible that in this modern era when we have reached the zenith of civilization, that we allow a segment of the human society in Palestine to endure the most horrendous persecution history has ever recorded. Our history is so tainted with man-made tragedies that have caused untold sufferings for the last 100 years. The first Great War was dubbed ‘The War to end all wars’ judging from the horrific consequence on human lives and properties. Later it was renamed ‘The First World War’, because it was soon followed by a far greater calamity. The Second World War has unveiled the limitless potential a human being can unleash to inflict pain on another. The Holocoust, the rape of Nanking, the carpet bombing of Europe and the Atomic bomb has dwarfed the First war in terms of human lives perished and the trail of devastation it has left. The war ended with a solemn pledge ‘Never again’ with the birth of the United Nations where every effort would be exhausted to find a peaceful solution to every human conflict. Alas, barely three years passed from the inauguration of the United Nations, the indigenious people of Palestine became the first victim of systematic persecution. In 1948, the same year that the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of human rights, drafted by nations that convened in San Fransisco in 1945, Palestinian people lost their homeland and dignity. Right up to this day, sixty two years on, the Palestinian people are still stripped of their basic human rights and denied the right of return to dear homeland, a birthright that every human being takes for granted.

Some has dismissed this issue as a conflict of a religious or a sectarian nature or somewhat shaped by religious motives. No doubt, the Palestinians are predominantly muslims, although there is a significant Christian minority; and the Israelis are predominantly Jewish, or eventually exclusively Jewish as Israel aspired to be a Jewish state. But this is no excuse to act indifferent to the sufferings endured by one as a result of the atrocities commited by the other. Every human being has the right to be treated with dignity without exception. No person should condone any form of persecution on a fellow human being. It is incumbent upon every single human being to stand up and delivers anyone from wanton persecution.

Perhaps we can all learn from the annals of history of Islam in the early days of her inception. Prophet Muhammad SAW (PBUH) and the small community of the believers were once boycotted and banished to the far end of the Meccan city outskirts. The nobles of Mecca has issued a decree banning all forms of business dealings and transactions with the muslims. Food and supplies were blocked from entering the muslim quarters. At first only the muslims were targeted but in the name of solidarity every person that belongs to Banu (the sons of) Abdul Manaf, Banu Hashim and and Banu Abdul Mutalib to which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) belongs retreated to the muslims enclave (Shi’ib Abi Talib), where they cordoned and shielded themselves from the hostile Quraish tribe who were bent on destroying the nascent muslim community. The boycott campaign now was extended to everyone who supported Prophet Muhammad whether they were muslims or otherwise. The siege they laid lasted for three long years.

They endured the most trying situations. Food shortage lead to widespread starvation which began to take its toll especially on the children and infirm. A companion of the Prophet, Saad bin Abi Waqqash RA related how out of desperation, he sustained himself and the others for three days with a dried out camel hide he stumbled upon in the valley.

Not only the non-muslims community stood alongside their muslim brethren in solidarity and endured the persecution, they also made arrangements to smuggle in food and other basic necessities, often jeopordising their own safety. A nephew of the prophet’s wife, Hakim bin Hizam, a non-muslim and his friends made several attempts in the middle of the night to send help by releasing camels laden with goods hoping that it will wander into the enclave unnoticed by the ever watchful eyes of the Quraish patrol.

The boycott ended due to the public opinion of the people of Mecca who could not bear hearing the cries of starving children. They were driven by their own conscience and collectively decried the boycott. Even though the leaders insisted on continuing the siege, they could not go against the public sentiments and the siege was eventually lifted.

The Palestinian people is now experiencing the same predicament as the muslims of Mecca. Comprehensive economic blockade and total siege was imposed on the small Gaza enclave. All crossings were completely closed. Now the government of Egypt has planted steel platings along the Raffah crossing blocking the tunnels that has served as the only lifeline into Gaza. The daily movements of Palestinian in East Jerusalem and West Bank has been impeded by the presence of the apartheid wall that snaked through Palestinian lands carving up large swath of land and blocking access to schools, water wells and farms.

Now news has came through that the people of Gaza is again subjected to aerial bombing and strafing by Israeli airforce. They have been pounding schools, houses and whatever little that has left from the last massive attack in 2009.

PACE appeals to all of humanity regardless of race and religion to stand firm with our brethren in Palestine. Let us emulate the Quraish of Mecca who in the face of adversity, showed their solidarity with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his followers to the end. We believe that the Palestinian tragedy will continue to haunt all of humanity for posterity if we turn our back on the Palestinians today.

Dr Hafidzi Mohd Noor

Director

PACE

 

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