July 9, 2010

The Problems with Ignorance

I am loving my summer down at St. Mary's. I am learning so much and gaining tons of experience with artifact conservation, and identification; as well as archaeological practices. I work with an amazing group of people and surprisingly enough the numbers of men and women are almost equal, 8 men 7 women. In a field that historically has been dominated by men it's good to see that women are starting to show up out in the field.

The real reason why I'm writing this though is because I'm irritated and want to talk about an issue that is often pushed aside in the US. Since 2000 we have been engaged in 2 wars. And as a result the only thing that we typically hear about Israel and Palestine are when missiles are fired. When the flotilla incident happened I was happy to see that the world started taking notice of the injustices that are constantly inflicted on the Palestinian people.

As human beings we all are entitled to clean water, food, shelter, medical care, the right to live, and the right to feel safe. I think that we can all agree on this. However, these are the things that are being denied to Palestinians. In Gaza after the Gaza war in 2008 many of the water treatment facilities were destroyed. Israel does not let in cement, for fear that cement will be used to make bombs. And therefore, the treatment plants cannot be rebuilt. Furthermore, Israel has control over the pipelines which move water into Gaza and they have the ability to greatly limit the amount of water enters Gaza. I was trying to find this fact sheet I saw once but I couldn't find it....it gave the break down of what the UN says every human being is entitled to (ie 30 liters of clean water a day) and then next to that it gave the amount of that good which each individual in Gaza receives every day. It was shocking the contrast between the two numbers.

Now Israel is saying that they are letting goods into Gaza. However, in a conversation I had with a friend of mine the other day who lives in Gaza I asked what goods they were actually receiving. (I've learned to not trust news services and if I really want to know what's going on I need to go directly to someone on the ground.) She told me that the goods they are receiving are things that you don't need to live day to day.  For example, ketchup, sewing needles, and makeup. She also said that electricity is getting more spotty every day and if anything since the Flotilla incident things have gotten worse not better as Israel is claiming.

I just hope that one day people will be able to put aside all of the atrocities that each side have inflicted on the other. I do not think that blowing yourself up or planting bombs is the best way for peace. I also do not think that building walls, which have been deemed illegal by the UN, or denying people basic needs is a way for peace.

What will solve this problem is each side recognizing that in the end we are all humans and this humanity is what binds us together. We in the US also need to realize that every news source will not tell the Palestine's side of the story because each year the US gives millions of dollars to Israel so the TV stations would be reprimanded for speaking out against Israel (Israel receives the most assistance over any other country from the US....which doesn't make much sense because they are very well off...what about those third world countries where people don't have running water?) This means that we have the hard job. Seek out atypical news sources. Talk to people who have been to the Middle East. GO to Israel AND Palestine. Ignorance is Fear. If we abolish Ignorance then Fear will also disappear.

1 comment:

  1. I love when you talk so righteously! Thanks for posting this. It needs to be said more. Also, you should check out the documentary Budrus when its possible. (http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=180949) I was able to see it AFI Silver. -heather