Last week, I reflected on the devastatingly high price of our collective silence on the occupation of Gaza. As of today’s writing, 1355 Palestinians — most civilians and children — have lost their lives in nearly three weeks of violence. An additional 59 Israeli have also been killed.
The individual stories coming out of Gaza are horrifying. Earlier this week, Gaza’s only power plant was targeted by Israeli airstrikes, leaving most Gaza residents with no electricity or running water. A United Nations school was struck, killing 16 Palestinians. Refugee camps and hospitals have not found themselves immune to attack. Efforts at a cease-fire have failed.
Last week, I wrote about the moral responsibility of all humans to speak out against these horrific deaths, and how I find myself empathizing with the Palestinian civilians and children of the Gaza Strip who have borne the brunt of the attacks and suffered the greatest share of deaths in this conflict. I spoke about the “blood memory” of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, who know firsthand the devastating impact of war and colonialism which has throughout our history taken countless lives and ripped apart too many families. I spoke about the emotional responsibility of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and indeed all humans, to not stand idly by while the death toll from this senseless slaughter continues to rise in the Gaza Strip.
Many of us still grapple with the effects of colonization. Whether the U.S. military in the Philippines or Okinawa, the Secret War in Cambodia, or the current U.S. occupation of American Samoa and Hawaii, the story of Asians & Pacific Islanders in North America is fraught with its physical and psychological scars.
It is our collective memory of domination and colonization that makes it so hard for us to watch the current U.S.-supported Israeli campaign against Palestinians in Gaza. This is a story to which we already know the ending.
As Americans with this history, we cannot, in good conscience, stand by while Israel murders Palestinians, destroys crucial infrastructure, and displays reckless impunity under the protection of the U.S. government. In moments like this, to be silent about the parallels with our experiences is to be complicit in the violence.
“WE CONDEMN THE ACTIONS OF THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT AND CALL FOR A JUST AND EQUITABLE PEACE. WE CALL ON THE UNITED STATES TO STOP ITS UNRESTRICTED FINANCIAL, MILITARY, AND POLITICAL SUPPORT OF ISRAEL IN OUR NAMES. WE EXTEND OUR SUPPORT AND PRAYERS TO THE PEOPLE OF GAZA UNDER ATTACK. ”
Please sign this petition and share it with your friends. We can’t afford not to take a stand on this issue. We can’t afford any more silence.