Thought Box



by HUMRA QURAISHI March 3 2024, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins, 24 secs

With social media abuzz with the visit of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates to Jamnagar for the huge wedding, Humra Quraishi is saddened that real news that needs attention, like that of the plight of the Palestinians, lies buried.

The news reports of Palestinians in the grip of starvation are extremely disturbing to say the least. Drowning however may be their cries for help under the din of a grand wedding worth uncountable millions of dollars to which all the men of wealth and power are in attendance.

You know what I am talking about, you know where all the so-called world leaders, influencers and, ironically, the role models are this weekend while the lives of thousands of people are ruined because of a severe shortage of clean drinking water and bread. Death stares at them in the face, and we call ourselves a civilized world, one that looks away when it needs to step in and stop all the violations taking place unabatedly.

What should we call the people who don’t bother to have food packets air dropped for severely malnourished and dying Palestinian men, women and children? World leaders!!! How can they be respected by anybody? Even after the ceasefire is declared, if it is at all, it’ll be just too late for most languishing in camps, tents, prisons…what kind of a world have we become!

There are fears that a famine-like situation is about to happen in Gaza. It is officially estimated that 576,000 people there are “one step away from famine”.  According to reports, officials from the United Nations have accused Israel of “systematically” blocking aid from reaching desperate Palestinians in Gaza, warning that at least one-quarter of the enclave’s population was without urgent action. One in six children under the age of two in northern Gaza suffers from acute malnutrition and wasting, and practically all the 2.3 million people in the enclave rely on “woefully inadequate” food-aid to survive.

Israel’s war on Gaza, now in its fifth month, has killed at least 29,878 Palestinians, most of them women and children. Many of the survivors are dying a painful death because of the lack of food and drinking water and health care system. Topping all these are the targeted strikes by the Israeli forces, but there are general elections in one place where votes must be got, and a wedding in another where every big-gun, you name him or her, of the numerous corporations of the world, is celebrating with film stars and pop music icons.

It's ruthless. Unsparing even at the  exit  points of the borders where fleeing Palestinians could have escaped from the terrifying conditions. No, it doesn’t seem possible for the besieged Palestinians, as killings go on… and it forces me to ask: What developed world we are living in, where thousands of human beings are killed, subjected to worst forms of  torture and abuse, and nobody cares?

Olive trees and olives that for centuries nourished the Palestinians  in their  homeland are affected in the all-round destruction  going on of the fiercest possible kind. Yes, natural resources cannot withstand this war upon mankind.

Where are the child rights forums, commissions and ministries? Can’t they see the Palestinian children queueing up for food? Some who get a bowlful, others who return hungry! Yet we are not sending food parcels and water containers to the besieged children, but feeding the already well-fed for the cameras to show to the world how giving we are as the rich and powerful, and to wash away the guilt of boasting about spending 0.1% of a net worth amounting to numbers infinite on one extravaganza in Jamnagar, Gujarat, to which if you’re not invited, I’m not, you are a nobody! Why?

The Arabs are jolted by the human disaster taking place in their backyard, yet a majority of the rulers carry on as though it is just another day in their lives. Otherwise by now many of the Palestinians who are dead would have been saved. Yes, even the basics like nuts and seeds can avoid death, if only there was a will. I must mention the horrifying stories coming from the prison holes, where hundreds of the Palestinians are detained.

Chances of hope will never be buried, I suppose, if anthems of resistance can still be sung in the darkest of times. I’ll leave you to introspect on this verse of Faiz Ahmad Faiz. His birth anniversary just went by (13  February 1911, Sialkot, Pakistan).

Speak Up! /Speak up, for your lips are not sealed /and your words are still your own. /This upright body is yours–/speak while your soul is still your own. /Look there, in that smithy, /its red oven, fierce flames, /the padlocks are already opening their mouths /and each fetter is skirting around. /Speak up now, for time’s running out, /Before your body and mind fade away, /tell us, for truth is not yet dead. /Speak /Whatever you have to say!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.