An Outbreak of Public SanityBy David Shavin
Jan. 30—It has been hard to digest the daily slaughter in Gaza, much less the foreboding sense of imminent doom, awaiting the day when the word goes out that a new epidemic has been born—born out of the lethal mixture of 1.9 million displaced Palestinians, most living through a winter exposed to the elements, trapped without proper sustenance, without clean water, without proper sanitation, living in overcrowded makeshift camps.
It took almost 100 days before a major body in the West, the International Court of Justice, could actually give voice to the horror and create the possibility of healing. From the West Bank, on Jan. 28, Bethlehem’s Rev. Munther Isaac identified what South Africa had accomplished before the IJC on Jan. 11: “I think the ICJ could be a momentous point in our history, because it showed what the divide is… I think the ICJ deliberations and how countries respond to it clearly shows where people stand today, and where countries stand today. Gaza is indeed right now the moral compass of the world, and where people stand regarding the genocide that is happening in Gaza right now is important. You are either justifying the genocide or really standing with humanity and solidarity with the oppressed. To me, this is the most important moral and ethical element of the ICJ, in that it divided our world.”
The Schiller Institute call, entitled “International Court of Justice Mandates: ‘The Arc of the Moral Universe Bends Towards Justice!’,” certainly situates Wednesday’s deliberations at the UN Security Council over a resolution to hold Israel’s feet to the fire, both on implementing the ICJ legal orders to end the killings and to rush immediate and sufficient aid into Gaza. But it is not merely an issue for diplomats at the UN. The United States, its representatives, every citizen gets a chance to begin its own healing.
The call concludes: “The courageous stand of Nelson Mandela’s South Africa on behalf of humanity, and therefore of the Palestinians, must now be adopted by all of us, as we shame the Anglo-American Establishment, and its accomplices, into exposing themselves to the world. And while it is they who are the perpetrators of war and genocide, it is we who are the preventers of it—should we choose to do so.”
Will it be Britain or the US or both that defile themselves with a veto of such a resolution? Or might Wednesday be the day that the shame is too much to bear? And if anyone exercises a veto, how much more charged up will the General Assembly be to put things right? The point is that, whatever evils were done to South Africa’s population over the years of apartheid, they have fashioned themselves into a moral force, capable of putting a clear choice to the world. So, it can be a lot more fun, more profoundly enjoyable, to act morally than to defile oneself.
Farmers in Greece, France and Germany are leading the charge with tractorcades and public actions, saying the insanity of undermining production must end. As with South Africans, farmers also have fashioned themselves into a moral force, simply because they insisted upon a livelihood that is necessary for humanity.
Call it an outbreak of public sanity, or whatever—but it is a precious gift not to be squandered. Choose not to.