Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 44

Dear Mr. President,

I watched your speech to the US-Islamic world forum. I thought it was very good, maybe even better than the one you gave in Cairo. I still think that you lose any credibility you might have had declaring our steadfastness with regards to "human rights and human dignity" when you have so effectively looked the other way with regards to Gaza. I've said this before, but I imagine it will need saying many times in the future; I respect that we disagree on this, at this point I would just like to hear you talk about it. Talk about the reality in Gaza and explain to me, and to the millions of others who think that it is an appalling violation of international law and common decency, why we support the status quo. I honestly don't know how you can give a speech like this, touching upon US-Islamic relations, the 2-state solution and the defense of human rights, and not even say the word "Gaza." Does this glaring hypocrisy strike you, as well?

Palestine hasn't been in the news much lately. There have been the usual small-scale injustices; non-violent demonstrations being tear gassed, mass arrests, home demolitions, bombs dropped over areas of southern Gaza. It's disheartening that these are routine. The region is simmering, for now. But you know, and I know, and most every one in the region knows, it is a matter of time. The pot will boil over, once again. The violence will escalate, the suffering of the innocent will worsen. It will be a rocket attack by Hamas or Islamic Jihad, or a suicide bomber, or another contentious election, or maybe none of these things, but every one knows that something will set off more conflict. Israel will overreact in the name of its own security. The US will caution both sides to act with respect to civilian life. The UN will see resolution after resolution vetoed for daring to criticize the Israeli response. Civilians will die. Homes will be destroyed. The footage will all look the same, played on TV in a continuous loop while flak-jacketed correspondents report with the Dome of the Rock looming behind them.

We know this is coming. We know the situation is a waiting game with lives on the line. Mr. President, the only question I have, the only question I can think to ask to make sense of any of this is what are we waiting for?

Respectfully yours,


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