Friday, 12 October 2007

Witness in the West Bank: doctor's letter to BMJ

Places of foreign conflict exist for many as a kind of abstract reality. We sort of know that there's pain and misery for the people involved. But we don't really see or comprehend the suffering and causes. It all gets seemingly lost or confused in the morass of events, the mists of time. Years and decades elapse, with no prospective resolution. The mainstream media assume nominal reporting duties, treating the situation as another outpost conflict. What should be regarded as remarkable violations of human rights become just unremarkable incidents. Those at the receiving end despair of their plight and the world's seeming indifference. Trapped and under siege, they get branded and demonised as fanatical terrorists, a threat to be contained. The same media do little or nothing to correct the lie, even helping to promote the distortion.

Such is the situation for the people of Palestine, now approaching sixty years, the world's longest contemporary occupation.

We can't all personally witness the truth of such daily oppression. But it sometimes helps to have others bear witness on our behalf to what's really happening on the ground. Here's the compelling statement of one such witness, Asad Khan, a specialist respiratory registrar at Manchester Hospital, in response to a debate at the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on the case for a boycott and sanctions against Israel.

In Go and see the truth for yourself, I did , Asad tells of his recent visit to the West Bank (with a party of fellow observers) and how he saw for himself the kind of daily brutality and humiliations not being dutifully reported by the media. He made his trip around the same time as our GPHRC party, and my own observations are in close keeping with his findings.

As Mahmoud Abbas and other self-selected parties prepare to gather for next month's ill-fated 'summit' in the US, it's worth remembering that no true peace can ever be realised without full and proper recognition of such inhumanity and the serious resolve of the 'international community' to challenge Israel's rejectionist positions on full Palestinian sovereignty, Jerusalem and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

(Asad's letter also posted here.)



Asad Khan said...

Hi John

Just stumbled across this. Your blog is beautifully laid out and extremely well-written. Wish I had your eloquence.

Thank you for quoting my letter here. I'm grateful to people like you who are giving it a wide audience.

John Hilley said...

Thanks, A, for your kind comments. I'm only too pleased to cite your fine account here. It's all about spreading the word and letting people really know what's happening in Palestine.