This summer, I was bestowed a great gift: I met a friend who is now a source of inspiration to me, a constant reminder that I should be active, not just for me, but for those outside my little bubble of air, a bubble that will soon disappear like any other in the vast sea foam of the human race.
His presence reminds me that when I worry about not being able to find the right outfit, in Palestine, there are young people fighting for the most basic human rights even when they know that their lives are at risk; while I waste the resources at the tip of my fingers, someone is fighting for the innocent whose lives have been taken away, sometimes just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In this month alone, 56 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. Whether they were an unarmed protester, a bystander, or an alleged, not averred, attacker, they faced the same fate: they were either shot or stabbed to death.
My friend, Samuel Gang, has lived through six wars in Palestine. From the second Intifada to the Lebanon war, he has been a denizen of the West Bank, where he hears live gunshots at night, where it is natural to for school to be cancelled in fear of deaths for the students.
He says the Middle East is beautiful. The blend of different cultures just seem to carry the best of both worlds: East and West. However, the amalgam of different cultures also lead to complications, both religious and historical. Jerusalem, now administered by Israel, is a holy place for three religions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, which is why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has not been resolved for the past 150 years. The Al-Aqsa mosque, located in Jerusalem and the third holiest sight for Muslims, is often a source of conflict due to its location.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has proclaimed that certain sites in the West Bank are Jewish heritage sites. The government further expanded this conflict by using a minor storm damage as a chance to extend the Jewish prayer plaza. The events that lead up to the status quo are simply endless, deeply rooted in the religions themselves.
The past week was a wave of violence in Palestine: The Palestinians have been protesting in checkpoints around Jerusalem, hoping for a better future, while the Israelis have retaliated with gunshots. Although the United Nations has condemned Israel multiple times for its irresponsible actions and violations of past treaties, including the most recent UNESCO condemnation of Israelis for limiting Muslim access to the Al-Aqsa mosque, the blur of current events have bleached the endeavors to calm violence. Due to the conflicts’ extensive length, the endeavors have almost become a background noise, a constant buzz.
It is in our hands, the power to make the choice to listen to what may seem like a background noise, for it may be consisted of shrieks of death and shouts for help.
I hope we remember that everything matters, including what may seem like an annoying buzz, a constant background noise.