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LETTER: Seek truth about Gaza, be on right side of history

'Shamefully, our local MPPs have chosen to support Israeli flag-raisings this week despite Israel's ongoing genocide in Gaza,' laments letter writer
2022-05-17 typing pexels-donatello-trisolino-1375261
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OrilliaMatters welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected] or via the website. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is about the Israel-Hamas War in Gaza.

(Earlier this week was) Nakba Day, or Palestinian Catastrophe which commemorates the destruction of Palestinian society and homeland in 1948 when Israel was created. I am appalled that this Nakba has been continuing, with widespread support from all of our local politicians.

The 75-year brutal occupation of Palestine, as well as the escalated seven-month genocide in Gaza has to end. Unfortunately, our governments and our academic institutions have been complicit in this genocide by silencing anyone who speaks up about Palestine and supporting Israel with weapons and investments. Shamefully, our local MPPs have chosen to support Israeli flag-raisings this week despite Israel's ongoing genocide in Gaza.

In the last seven months, the healthcare system in Gaza has been completely decimated by Israel. Several hundred doctors, patients, and other healthcare workers have been killed and kidnapped. There have been hundreds of bodies found in mass graves near hospitals including Al-Nasser, Al-Shifa, and Kamal Adwan. Many of these bodies still had bladder catheters and IVs in them. There are several doctors who have been kidnapped and tortured.  

The hospitals that have been besieged and destroyed represent institutions of excellence which have provided the population with excellent medical care, despite the siege and the multiple bombing campaigns that have targeted hospitals over the years pre-Oct. 7. 

Al-Shifa, a hospital in Gaza City, was in existence before the occupation began. There were 23 operating rooms, and multiple high-level specialties – similar to St. Michael’s Hospital or Sunnybrook. Israel besieged and destroyed it, and it is now an empty shell of ashes. Could you imagine the same happening to our hospitals in Canada?

As we speak, the only border crossings getting in to Gaza are closed. No medical aid, food, or supplies can get in, and nobody can enter or exit. I can personally attest to this fact. There are several foreign doctors in Gaza on the ground right now with no way out. But this fact pales in comparison to the horrendous suffering experienced by Palestinians living through this genocide. 

There have been over 40,000 people killed in Gaza over the last seven months, and many believe the number is much, much higher. The death toll may well be in the hundreds of thousands given the lack of medicines, food, and water, not to mention the people who are missing under the rubble. The number injured is well over 100,000, and the number displaced is 2 million. 

But people are not numbers. Each one of these people have stories, dreams, and communities who care about them. The ones who have survived have been displaced from their homes multiple times, living in tents, with no food or clean water. And yet Israel continues to bomb people living in tents in Rafah, the supposed safe zone.

Could you imagine having to camp out for seven months, moving from place to place to avoid being bombed, then being bombed anyway? And this is not idyllic camping in the wilderness — it’s forced camping with insects everywhere, polluted air, the smell of death, and the sound of drones 24/7. 

I encourage everyone to fact check and learn the truth about the most horrific crimes of our lifetimes. Once you know the truth, you will have no choice but to stand on the right side of history.  

Nothing can justify this ongoing genocide in Gaza. I urge everyone to support student encampments, put pressure on government officials, boycott, and get involved with local groups such as @simcoecounty4palestine and @jewishallianceofsimcoe.

M. Chaudhuri