24 Comments
Feb 4Liked by Joshua P. Hill

I feel stupid and insane doomscrolling and crying but doing nothing useful. Could there be like some kind of fundraising thing to do?

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It's true that we have to act. It's hard to know what to do though. BDS? Rallies? I wish I knew what was effective.

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Feb 4Liked by Joshua P. Hill

the last paragraph is so good. 👏🏾

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This really resonated. I'm living and teaching in Mongolia, and I haven't found a group of people yet who is even talking about the genocide. It's very strange and alienating. I've been teaching university students who'd never heard of Israel and Palestine before. My colleagues don't ever bring it up unless I do. Last semester, two of my students did presentations on bias in the mainstream American news coverage because of some material I presented. But it seems so utterly pointless sometimes. I write letters to my American representatives, donate money to UNWRA and other organizations, and continue teaching about it. And I know I should be doing more, like participating remotely in some kind of organizing, but I just can't seem to figure it out. It's so weird and difficult living in a part of the world where Israel's assault on occupied Palestine doesn't even seem to be discussed, much less acted upon.

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I'd love to learn more about what *kinds* of actions you find helpful and productive. I've been mostly just trying to have conversations with my Jewish and Israeli family and share information that complicates things and provokes critical thinking via my Substack. And to share opportunities to raise funds for orgs in Gaza of course. But I'm wondering if you think there's something more we all should be doing?

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Once again beautiful job Joshua. Especially timely for me since I just listened to Youmna ElSayed describe finally managing to get to Egypt with her children without having to abandon her husband. She's a journalist for Al Jazeera English and while I don't think there's been any outcry about her leaving her post it's likely due to her status as a mother. But all of these journalists have families and loved ones (who are being targeted as well) and I think it is offensive for anyone to pass judgement from afar. Think of how entitled that would look to a parent who CAN'T get any of their children out, it's not like it's transferable. A journalist that gets to leave likely has dual citizenship or has suffered so much trauma their employer is able to make a case for them to be allowed to leave. The level of survivor's guilt they must experience combined with what they've witnessed is immense. If there is no more reporting from Gaza it will not be the fault of Gazans. It will be the fault of Israel and the US for allowing this to happen.

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Really excellent article. We are constantly told, particularly with regards to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, that Western support is not just about defending Ukraine but about defending our way of life and our values. I think what is really difficult to come to terms with is the idea that those values differ not across continents but between policy and public desire. Netanyahu has tried to jump on the bandwagon - that his fight is our fight but no one believes him. There needs to be a paradigm shift. It isn’t enough to focus on what is occurring in Palestine. The West needs to look at itself in the mirror - throwing stones from the comfort of glass houses is a cause rather than the solution.

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It pains me to witness the suffering of the people of Palestine. The callousness and cowardice of western political leadership championing this genocide is infuriating and unforgivable . I think you’re right in that this genocide has brought more into relief the light and dark in society and the dark don’t give a damn. Im a farmer in small country on the other side of the world, I can’t attend rallies and don’t have a like minded community, however I will not give up on the Palestinian cause and will continue to bear witness, mentally fatiguing as it may be.

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Motaz is a fucking hero and deserves to live in peace outside of Gaza after what all he documented and while the target grew larger on his back. I for one am glad he chose to escape and save his life. He has many more stories to tell. And deserves to live in peace. Sadly, yes, he's one less pair of eyes to document the horrors. Which are more than enough already for good people to act. (Like if you don't think it's bad enough yet, there's no hope for you.) But plenty other still can and will. He deserves to live.

We all each influence our inner circles of friends. If we each stand up, speak up for Palestine, it's catchy. Oh sure, you may lose one or two. But, don't fall for the false narrative conflating Zionism with Judaism. It is NOT Judaism. It is a white supremacist movement born in Europe that has Christians and Jews backing it. And is now enacting "never again" on PALESTINIANS. I have nothing against Jews and Judaism. I have everything against Zionism. They are not the same. But Jewish people are hiding behind "anti-sematism" as a trope and straw man arguement. Don't fall for it.

Look, you just said it yourself - we've never seen a movement like this anywhere, this genocide is literally being "televised" - or tweeted and tiktokked anyway. Thankfully. Keep speaking up and out. Keep lobbying your representatives at ALL levels. It seriously works. We just have to keep doing it, all of us. It feels hopeless, but... the world is watching. And this is the time to act. Write, email, protest, post, etc. It all helps. It empowers others to join and lend their voice too. Keep shining your light on this horrible scene. Free Palestine.

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Keep writing to your congress members and President Biden. You can send emails or use snail mail!

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Yes Tana, there is fundraising. The UNRWA is a great organization to give to and also Linda Sarsour's organization that is a 501(c)(4) is a political organization that will serve the same purpose. Basically it is to use political influence in the US. It should be very useful, as we have to admit we need to also put political pressure on our politicians.

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I appreciate this take. Social media is one tool in the toolbox and I think our dependence on it has created a false sense of its efficacy when it comes to political movements. I first noticed this during the Black Lives Matter uprisings and hoped people would take some key learnings about how to transmute social media awareness into organization and action. There also seems to be a lot of shaming coming from folks who feel it’s our obligation share traumatic imagery on our platforms everyday. As someone who doesn’t log onto instagram everyday but has made calls, sent petitions, donated and gone to protests it’s made me feel even more discouraged about my ability to incite change.

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Thank you. 💚

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Thank you for writing this. So important to contend with the limits of awareness.

I've been thinking a lot about this essay: https://mentalhellth.xyz/p/against-grief-as-political-currency over the past few weeks, which talks through similar ideas. Super recommend. The author, Kevyan S., also goes into how this dynamic affects those grieving, to have to immediately turn their grief into a political weapon. Along those lines, I recently read "The Drone Eats With Me" by Atef Abu Saif, in which he details his experiences in the 2014 war, and he talks about the complicated relationship many Gazans have with journalists. They know how important the work is, yet some see journalists almost as parasitic, feeding off trauma.

Of course, this sentiment isn't exclusive to Gaza, it may have changed in recent years; it doesn't reflect the feelings of all Gazans toward journalists, nor diminish the brave and important work journalists do. But I thought it an important perspective, to think about how it feels to have your trauma on display, to have a camera in your face at your moments of greatest suffering and loss. So that's something I've been thinking a lot recently --- how to bear witness to what needs witnessed, and also be respectful and thoughtful.

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Once again beautiful job Joshua. Especially timely for me since I just listened to Youmna ElSayed describe finally managing to get to Egypt with her children without having to abandon her husband. She's a journalist for Al Jazeera English and while I don't think there's been any outcry about her leaving her post it's likely due to her status as a mother. But all of these journalists have families and loved ones and I think it is offensive for anyone to pass judgement from afar. Think of how entitled that would look to a parent who CAN'T get any of their children out, it's not like it's transferable. A journalist that gets to leave likely has dual citizenship or has suffered so much trauma their employer is able to make a case for them to be allowed to leave. The level of survivor's guilt they must experience combined with what they've witnessed is immense. If there is no more reporting from Gaza it will not be the fault of Gazans. It will be the fault of Israel and the US for allowing this to happen.

Expand full comment