Two deaths – 7579.1 miles apart, one in Gaza and one in Los Angeles, U.S.A. No one could have missed the headline news today that Whitney Houston has been found dead in a room at the Beverley Hills Hotel.
The B.B.C. have the news of Whitney’s death as the headline “Whitney Houston’s Death Stuns Music World”. Such is the world today where celebrity news, though undoubtly tragic as any death at a young age is, takes precedence over the myriad of other stories that might have been headlines.
One such story that would never have made the headlines is of a 71 year old man in Gaza, Palestine. The B.B.C. manages to mention the death, but of course he is a nameless person. The headline reads “One killed in Israeli Air Strikes on Gaza Strip”. For the B.B.C. and many of their readers, Abd Al Kareem Al Zaitouna is just a statistic. According to the Israelis he is no doubt a “terrorist”.
So who exactly was Abd al Kareem? Well all I know is that he was a 71 year old man who was a guard at a chicken farm in the Zaitouna district of Gaza. The chicken sheds pictured here after they were razed to the ground are described in some news stories, as “barracks”. You have to look at the picture of the destruction and wonder at how much heavy weaponry and high-tech equipment was used to destroy a corrugated steel structure. No problem of course, American tax payers will pick up the bill. The question as to just why anyone would leave a 71 year old man to guard an army barracks and just how some chicken sheds pose an existential threat to Israel, is one anyone with a modicum of logic or common sense should be asking.
The fact is that Israel can kill anyone they like in Gaza. They can kill using a massive array of weapons from automatic guns fired by women sitting in control rooms miles away, they can fire from naval vessels in the sea off the coast of Gaza, they can fire from the F16′s or helicopters overhead. The civilians of Gaza are under constant threat of death from one of the most sophisticated and heavily armed armies in the world.
We should all do what we can to highlight and challenge injustice. So I thought, so that Abd Al Kareem does not remain a nameless, faceless statistic, just another fatality in Gaza, I will give him a name and a face by publishing his picture.