Guest contribution by Manar Khalil
The recent Freedom Flotilla attacks have outraged many people around the world. Millions are disappointed and dismayed with the Israeli government but also with various other governments for not easing this repulsive situation. The siege on Gaza is a siege on all of humanity, and the flotilla activists that have been killed and injured deserve justice.
When I heard about the flotilla attacks, I was offended and appalled. Hearing news of activists, that were delivering humanitarian aid, being killed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) worsened my view of the Israeli government. These actions only prove that the IDF is a mass murderer to all of humanity.
As a Palestinian-American born and raised alongside freedom, I feel for all of the suffering human beings around the globe, especially the Palestinians. Their plight is of severe, unorthodox standards. The Freedom Flotilla attacks have taken crime to a new level. Innocent, unarmed activists have lost their lives for merely being selfless. The least people could do is stand for the truth and disregard abhorrent rumors. As we all know, there are two sides to every story. One side is the truth, and people around the world must open their eyes and stand with the facts.
The activists that lost their lives boarded the Mavi Marmara with only one thing on their minds: Gaza. It takes a lot of courage to stand against one of the strongest armies in the world. These activists have inspired me to stand stronger for something that is simply the truth. Those that were killed have become martyrs, and I refuse to allow Israel to silence the world about the injustices committed towards blameless advocates.
I will not stay silent to this heinous crime committed by Israel. We must demand justice, and we must speak out to silent politicians and government officials who dare not to stand up to the brutal and unjust state of Israel. It truly disappoints me that America’s favorite ally is Israel, and their relationship demonstrates that America supports and agrees with Israel’s acts of piracy. This has led me to question my beliefs and support in the American government in regards to their response to the raid. I do not support any government faction that does not separate right from wrong. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Avalon’s absurd allegation that the humanitarian activists were linked to Al-Qaeda reveals that a proper investigation was not implemented nor do I truly believe that Israel will allow the events to be inspected.
Drastically affecting my life, I am constantly online reading articles and updates about the Gaza flotilla. I have read many negative reactions that do not condemn the attacks but support the IDF for the damage they have caused. These attacks have left me pondering the roles and positions of our leaders, and have led me to view the world differently. Why does the world sit and watch the suffering of Palestinians? Why do Arab countries allow Israel to shed the blood of their brothers, sisters and neighbors? How do the IDF sleep at night knowing that there is the blood of children and innocence on their hands?
The flotilla attacks have left me wondering as to where Arab nations stand in this matter. There are a few countries, such as Turkey and Ireland, who have become the heroes and leaders of the Arab world. I believe neighboring countries of Israel and the Palestinian Territories should be the first to aid the Palestinians since culture, land and the bond of humanity unite them.
I have respected and honored activists around the world, and the world respects the flotilla activists. They have earned the highest glory, and they have captured my heart. On a daily basis, people that endure hardships, such as these activists, push me to become a truth-seeking journalist. I have come to realize that all of the admirable and divine things in the world are because of people like the Freedom Flotilla fighters. I sympathize with the friends and families who have lost loved ones.
Manar Khalil was born and raised in Chicago. Her family comes from Palestinian cities currently within the borders of Israel. She is a Journalism student with a concentration in News Reporting and Writing at Columbia College Chicago. Manar has been passionately involved in seeking justice for Palestine since she started learning about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.