Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 221- Fighting the darkness in Gaza

Dear Mr. President,

Gaza has been granted enough fuel to run one of the power station generators for 36 hours. Officials have warned that a complete shutdown will drastically impact the ill and elderly patients who rely upon electricity for their life-saving treatment. The Palestinian authority in the West Bank is citing funds shortage as many Gazans cannot pay for electricity, given high levels of poverty and unemployment.

The people of Gaza need a functioning economy; they need schools and building supplies and the ability to travel and trade outside of the confines of the Gaza strip. How does this US-approved, unjust, illegal policy of collective punishment serve our interests there? Surely economic stability, education and contact with the outside world is the surest way to strengthen moderate voices and empower the next generation of Gaza's leaders to see America and Israel as something other than the ultimate enemy. Right now, with hospitals barely able to function, victims of Israeli wars unable to rebuild their homes, students kept from studying in adequate schools, unemployment affecting an overwhelming majority of families, it would be miraculous for anything other than hatred and resentment to take root.

How are we so steadfastly determined to perpetuate this suffering? To impose poverty and isolation as though it will teach an entire people obedience? Breaking their will, it seems, is not only our design but our official policy. When I read the news from Gaza it is so hard to stay proud of my country. Mr. President, if you never answer any of my letters or address any of my questions within them directly, I will understand. But if you have time for even one honest, non-talking-point, unscripted answer, please, tell me this: how can you, a man with demonstrable respect for human rights, justice, and freedom for all, look at the situation in Gaza and call it acceptable for our time? Especially in light of the poverty and death caused daily by flood and fire and natural disaster, how do you live with the decision to impose this kind of crisis on an entire population?

The 30 billion dollars we'll be giving Israel for the next 10 years will buy a lot of tanks, guns, bulletts and bombs. I wonder how much goodwill you think it will afford us? That kind of money might keep the lights on long enough for Gaza to move out of crisis state, but I wonder if we might just stop sending checks all together until the siege is broken? Buy a little justice for the people of Gaza without spending even a penny? Today you raised $1.6 million for the DNC war chest, but, unfortunately, I doubt it will be enough to buy even a single politician brave enough for the change this country needs.

Respectfully yours,


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