Michel Moushabeck: War sets humanity backward

Published: 3/7/2022 5:00:44 PM
Modified: 3/7/2022 5:00:10 PM

Like many of you, I’ve been glued to the news this past week following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s senseless, illegal and immoral war on neighboring Ukraine.

As a Palestinian whose family was displaced and exiled, it is easy for me to identify with the suffering of the people of Ukraine and feel their anger toward the invading Russian army. The fear, the indiscriminate bombardment, the destruction, the scenes of women and children taking refuge in subways and underground shelters, and the ensuing massive refugee crisis are all too familiar to me.

War sets humanity backward. In my book, all leaders — from Putin to Bush, Netanyahu to Assad — who drop bombs and kill civilians are war criminals. What was unimaginable is now a reality. In a welcome change from the past, American and European leaders suddenly started using the long lost words and language of international law. They are rightly invoking “international law” to condemn Putin’s aggression — something we have not seen when violations of international law were committed elsewhere in the world.

I often wonder about why we choose to selectively condemn violations of international law and human rights law? How can we see clearly the bombardment of Ukraine, but can’t see the bombardment of Yemen? How is it that we scream about the Russian occupation, but remain silent about the Israeli occupation? How can we open our borders to fleeing Ukrainian refugees, but shut them in the face of Syrian and other refugees?

A Palestinian can’t help but wonder. How can America and Europe send weapons to the Ukraine in order to fight an occupier, while at the same time send weapons to Israel in order to support its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands? How can the West stand up to Putin’s crimes while at the same time support Israeli crimes of apartheid?

And finally, while we are all focused on Russia, let’s not lose sight of what is happening here at home with the neo-burners, state legislatures’ attempts to ban books, and the anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation they are passing in Florida and Texas.

Michel Moushabeck

Northampton


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