You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Monday, January 28, 2008

Are we blind to the plight of Palestinians?

- Are we blind to the plight of Palestinians? Let students show that they care!
Going over the news today, I found this:
"Monday, January 28, 2007 (web typo: actually it should be 2008)
ISO protests against siege of Gaza City
Staff Reporter

LAHORE: Imamia Students Organizations (ISO) Sunday staged a protest outside Lahore Press Club to express solidarity with the people of Palestine.Students carrying placards and banners chanted slogans against the USA and Israel and demanded immediate end to the siege of Ghaza city. Addressing the protestors, ISO leader Nadir Abbas Baloch called upon President Pervez Musharraf to voice for the liberation of Palestine at the international level.
Honourable reader! You might be wondering about why this student organization is creating such a fuss. Here's a recap of the recent developments in Palestine:

A 225km rectangle on the Mediterranean, the Gaza Strip is squeezed between Egypt and Israel. With just under two million people, it has one of the world's highest population densities. Half of all the people in Gaza are refugees, or their descendants, from Israeli wars. A few days ago, Isreal effectively seiged the Gaza strip, blocking supplies to it and effectively turning it into a prison camp. The crime of millions imprisoned inside was that they were being governed by a democratically elected government of Hammas - a government that, in the furtherance of the people's will, refuses to bow down before Israel. Then, on the morning of Jan 23, Wednesday, some people managed to blow holes in the wall. Immediately after that, people thronged out of Ghaza, moving into Egypt, on everything from donkey-carts to truck. It was as if, for once, a prison break had succeded.

Just imagine this: millions of fellow human beings, Muslim brothers and sisters, growing restless as they linger in prison, deprived of power, food, medicine and other basic necessities. And then, quite dramatically, someones manage to blow holes in the prison wall separating them from Egypt. Inmates throng out into freedom, some of them for the first time in their lives, travelling to Egypt, yet not knowin if and when they will even get back to their homeland, which Israel has turned into a prison.

If our commitment is to humans and their well-being, and our duty is to care about their unbearable suffering, then, now is the time to show solidarity with them. Now is a time for the oppressed of the world to stand together, in solidarity. Notwithstanding our differences with ISO and other student organizations, let us, for once, follow their lead in a cause they we too should uphold. Let us, for once, raise our voice for a cause that is not just deserving of our attention, but is close the hearts of almost all Pakistanis, poor or elite. I ask you: What good are we, if we cannot so much as " express solidarity with the people of Palestine." and "demand immediate end to the siege of Ghaza city"?

Is it that countless episodes of "Prison Break" have dulled our senses so much and made us so sullen that we cannot even appreciate the heroism of this most impressive prison break of our times.

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