Tonight I saw a photo that may haunt me for the rest of my life.
I was sitting on the couch, holding my nearly sleeping 4-month-old baby, while my husband was upstairs putting our 2-year-old daughter to bed. And jen directed me to a post at No Caption Needed. It featured an image, under which the first line of the following paragraph reads:
A child’s arm protrudes from the rubble of a building destroyed by an air strike.
The hand is tiny. A toddler’s hand. There is no hope that the child in the photo is alive.
My stomach turned. I found myself crying onto my baby’s footie pajamas, scooping him up and squeezing him tight. I found myself glad that it was not my daughter sitting on my lap, because she would have seen the photo. She would have seen my tears. She is not yet 3 years old, and I cannot yet explain these things to her.
I cannot explain these things to myself.
News reports today indicate that more than 570 Palestinians, many of them women and children, have been killed in the violence that began on December 27 following the breakdown of a six-month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Thousands have fled to safety, but most of the 1.5 million people in Gaza have nowhere to go as both Israel and Egypt continue to restrict access to their territories.
The United Nations says the humanitarian crisis is growing as food supplies dwindle, access to clean water diminishes and hospitals fill up with the wounded and dead. More than a million people are said to be without electricity.
Let it not be said that Israel is completely oblivious to this growing humanitarian crisis. According to the New York Times:
Israel suspended its military operations in Gaza for three hours on Wednesday to allow humanitarian aid and fuel for power generation to reach Gazans, who used the afternoon break to shop.
You know what’s more humanitarian than allowing humanitarian aid?
Not bombing people.