[HCCN] fw Kathy Kelly Asks How?
jrobbins at mainecoastmail.com
Tue Feb 10 19:12:54 EST 2009
Published on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 by CommonDreams.org
How Do People Keep Going?
by Kathy Kelly
People have asked me, since I returned from Gaza, how people manage?
How do they keep going after being traumatized by bombing and
punished by a comprehensive state of siege? I wonder myself. I know
that whether the loss of life is on the Gazan or the Israeli side of
the border, bereaved survivors feel the same pain and misery. On both
sides of the border, I think children pull people through horrendous
and horrifying nightmares. Adults squelch their panic, cry in
private, and strive to regain semblances of normal life, wanting to
carry their children through a precarious ordeal.
And the children want to help their parents. In Rafah, the morning of
January 18th, when it appeared there would be at least a lull in the
bombing, I watched children heap pieces of wood on plastic tarps and
then haul their piles toward their homes. The little ones seemed
proud to be helping their parents recover from the bombing. I'd seen
just this happy resilience among Iraqi children, after the 2003 Shock
and Awe bombing, as they found bricks for their parents to use for a
makeshift shelter in a bombed military base.
Children who survive bombing are eager to rebuild. They don't know
how jeopardized their lives are, how ready adults are to bomb them
In Rafah, that morning, an older man stood next to me, watching the
children at work. "You see," he said, looking upward as an Israeli
military surveillance drone flew past, "if I pick up a piece of wood,
if they see me carrying just a piece of wood, they might mistake it
for a weapon, and I will be a target. So these children collect the
While the high-tech drone collected information,-- "intelligence"
that helps determine targets for more bombing, --toddlers collected
wood. Their parents, whose homes were partially destroyed, needed the
wood for warmth at night and for cooking. Because of the Israeli
blockade against Gaza, there wasn't any gas.
With the border crossing at Rafah now sealed again, people who want
to obtain food, fuel, water, construction supplies and goods needed
for everyday life will have to rely, increasingly, on the damaged
tunnel industry to import these items from the Egyptian side of the
border. Israel's government says that Hamas could use the tunnels to
import weapons, and weapons could kill innocent civilians, so the
Israeli military has no choice but to bomb the neighborhood built up
along the border, as they have been doing.
Suppose that the U.S. weapon makers had to use a tunnel to deliver
weapons to Israel. The U.S. would have to build a mighty big tunnel
to accommodate the weapons that Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and
Caterpillar have supplied to Israel. The size of such a tunnel would
be an eighth wonder of the world, a Grand Canyon of a tunnel, an
engineering feat of the ages.
Think of what would have to come through.
Imagine Boeing's shipments to Israel traveling through an enormous
underground tunnel, large enough to accommodate the wingspans of
planes, sturdy enough to allow passage of trucks laden with missiles.
According to UK's Indymedia Corporate Watch, 2009, Boeing has sent
Israel 18 AH-64D Apache Longbow fighter helicopters, 63 Boeing F15
Eagle fighter planes, 102 Boeing F16 Eagle fighter planes, 42 Boeing
AH-64 Apache fighter helicopters, F-16 Peace Marble II & III
Aircraft, 4 Boeing 777s, and Arrow II interceptors, plus IAI-
developed arrow missiles, and Boeing AGM-114 D Longbow Hellfire
In September of last year, the U.S. government approved the sale of
1,000 Boeing GBU-9 small diameter bombs to Israel, in a deal valued
at up to 77 million.
Now that Israel has dropped so many of those bombs on Gaza, Boeing
shareholders can count on more sales, more profits, if Israel buys
new bombs from them from them. Perhaps there are more massacres in
store. It would be important to maintain the tunnel carefully.
Raytheon, one of the largest U.S. arms manufacturers, with annual
revenues of around $20 billion, is one of Israel's main suppliers of
weapons. In September last year, the US Defense Security Cooperation
Agency approved the sale of Raytheon kits to upgrade Israel's Patriot
missile system at a cost of $164 million. Raytheon would also use the
tunnel to bring in Bunker Buster bombs as well as Tomahawk and
Lockheed Martin is the world's largest defense contractor by revenue,
with reported sales, in 2008, of $42.7 billion. Lockheed Martin's
products include the Hellfire precision-guided missile system, which
has reportedly been used in the recent Gaza attacks. Israel also
possesses 350 F-16 jets, some purchased from Lockheed Martin.
Think of them coming through the largest tunnel in the world.
Maybe Caterpillar Inc. could help build such a tunnel. Caterpillar
Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of construction (and
destruction) equipment, with more than $30 billion in assets, holds
Israel's sole contract for the production of the D9 military
bulldozer, specifically designed for use in invasions of built-up
areas. The U.S. government buys Caterpillar bulldozers and sends them
to the Israeli army as part of its annual foreign military assistance
package. Such sales are governed by the US Arms Export Control Act,
which limits the use of U.S. military aid to "internal security" and
"legitimate self defense" and prohibits its use against civilians.
Israel topples family houses with these bulldozers to make room for
settlements. All too often, they topple them on the families inside.
American peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death standing
between one of these bulldozers and a Palestinian doctor's house.
In truth, there's no actual tunnel bringing U.S. made weapons to
Israel. But the transfers of weapons and the U.S. complicity in
Israel's war crimes are completely invisible to many U.S. people.
The United States is the primary source of Israel's arsenal. For more
than 30 years, Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign
assistance and since 1985 Israel has received about 3 billion
dollars, each year, in military and economic aid from the U.S. ("U.S.
and Israel Up in Arms," Frida Berrigan, Foreign Policy in Focus,
January 17, 2009)
So many Americans can't even see this flood of weapons, and what it
means, for us, for Gaza's and Israel's children, for the world's
And so, people in Gaza have a right to ask us, how do you manage? How
do you keep going? How can you sit back and watch while your taxes
pay to massacre us? If it would be wrong to send rifles and bullets
and primitive rockets into Gaza, weapons that could kill innocent
Israelis, then isn't it also wrong to send Israelis the massive
arsenal that has been used against us, killing over 400 of our
children, in the past six weeks, maiming and wounding thousands more?
But, standing over the tunnels in Rafah, that morning, under a sunny
Gazan sky, hearing the constant droning buzz of mechanical spies
waiting to call in an aerial bombardment, no one asked me, an
American, those hard questions. The man standing next to me pointed
to a small shed where he and others had built a fire in an ash can.
They wanted me to come inside, warm up, and receive a cup of tea.
Kathy Kelly, a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence , is
writing from Arish, a town near the Rafah border between Egypt and
Gaza. Bill Quigley, a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola
New Orleans and Audrey Stewart are also in Egypt and contributed to
this article. Kathy Kelly's email is kathy at vcnv.org
Article printed from www.CommonDreams.org
URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/02/10-11
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