A sad state of affairs: Thoughts on Gaza, cyber fights & social media activism

social-media-activism-1

A lot has been on my mind lately, and I have been trying my best to avoid spending much time looking at the feeds on my personal social media accounts for a variety of reasons, some of the main reasons being the amount of misinformed and naïve posts on the situation in Gaza, the virtual fights, the biased and baseless claims and the general depressing state of affairs in the Arab world which has ultimately and naturally transcended to the online world.

These are just some reflections on a plethora of thoughts and things that I wanted to share my (useless) opinion about:

Growing up, the invincible enemy and all that drivel:

As I was growing up, we were led to the belief that the Israeli “defence” forces are invincible and that the borders cannot be breached, mainly due to the fact that our armies are not that strong and that we would be crushed and that we cannot hold ourselves in any sort of battle combat situation.
Fast forward to 2011 and the reality is:

  1. Some of our armies have some of the best artillery around and massive budgets are allocated annually to procure new weaponry, train the army on how to use them and to maintain the existing arsenals.
  2. We have no qualms to mobilize our armies, however, that would be against our own people and to maintain status quo and that nobody dares threaten the ruling families/structures
  3. We are more than willing to go for “Jihad” against our own people and we justify killing people based on their sect and/or nationality and/or religion. For a pre-dominantly Islamic nation we are quite violent and not very tolerant of anyone really, not exactly what Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) preached, and certainly not the way the Islamic empire expanded back in the olden glory days (sigh).
  4. Palestine is not exactly high on anyone’s agenda. I feel it’s a lost cause and it’s a war that no one is willing to partake in. Do not get me wrong, as helpless citizens we are very vocal and very active about it, yet the people who have the decision making ability and to potentially make a difference (I am talking about liberation, waging a war on Israel type of action) will never go down that path. The fear of risking upsetting Israel and its sugar daddies means the farthest they would go is very diplomatic and cowardly ‘condemnation’ and ‘expressions of deep concern’. Well, thank you very much for nothing.
  5. The Arab nations pretended for a very long time to be united and to have mutual goals and aspirations, yet, just like many speeches of Arab heads of state it’s all talk at the end of the day. Divide and conquer has been a very effective imperialist strategy back in the day and it continues to bear fruits for outsiders in the region.

As it has highlighted often by many people, we do not care if it is Palestinians, Israelis, Shiites, sunnis, Jihadists, Christians, Alevis or Buddhists, at the end of the day it’s humans killing humans. This is wrong in every possible way. Sadly the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and mankind’s history is dark, gory and brutal so this is unlikely to change any time soon, and the future is looking bleak, very bleak for this region.

Social media activism, giving people a voice comes at a cost:

As I mentioned earlier I have not been very active on my personal accounts recently for a variety of reasons, but when I have, I’ve had the following observations, none of which are new or groundbreaking, but here goes nevertheless:

  1. Misinformation! Someone finds a random picture from a battlefield or a conflict zone and posts it after adding a comment without checking the source, only for the pictures to turn out to be from other parts of the world. A good example would be the many pictures circulating online of piles of dead children, many of which were actually taken in Syria (another ongoing tragedy there). Any comment on any picture is believed, we share old content and twist it to make it seem as though it’s new. The media are at fault as well, however, the problem is with the masses who fall for anything. We are wired to believe anything coming from the media, without even thinking for a second if it is true or not. We mock the North Koreans for falling for every single lie their government feeds into their heads, yet we are as guilty for falling for any propaganda. Do not believe everything you read, take everything with a grain of salt, analyze things! The problem is that our attention spans and our thought trails are very limited nowadays, we are too lazy to interpret and to digest information. We consume it on the go and move on to the next thing, which brings me to the next point.
  2. People do not think. All it takes is a rumor to flare up and create hatred and tension. Every single day there have been trending hashtags on Twitter initiated by citizens of a gulf country accusing and criticizing one of the other countries in what has become a shameful farce. Citizens from each country basically praising their own in a holier-than-thou manner. Obviously one’s own country is far more superior morally and ethically than the others. Childish really
  3. There is criticism of Arabs and Muslims who are not vocal (at least virtually) about the atrocities in Gaza, as if there is an unwritten rule that people must always talk about an issue, if they don’t then they aren’t bothered about it. I personally made a choice not talk/post much about Gaza online, since much of what I’d do would go in vain in this age of social media activism where in reality we have little or no impact on proceedings on the ground. There is a hadeeth by the Prophet (PBUH) that is as follows:

184 – فالأول عن أبي سعيد الخدري رضي الله عنه قال سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول : [ من رأى منكم منكرا فليغيره بيده فإن لم يستطع فبلسانه فإن لم يستطع فبقلبه وذلك أضعف الإيمان ] رواه مسلم

184. Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith”.

[Muslim].

  1. As is the case with any cause, you have the people jumping on the bandwagon about anything and everything that is ‘trendy’ and ‘cool’. Gaza has been getting shelled occasionally and randomly by Israel for years, yet nobody batted an eyelid. Obviously the attacks were not with the same severity and frequency that they are at now, but the point is that they were met with utter apathy in the past, but that’s social media for you. It reminds me of the whole boycotting of Israeli goods that becomes hot every now and then (usually at times like these). Everyone suddenly becomes anti-anything remotely Zionist or Jewish (Brands that are usually targeted are Starbucks, KFC, Coca Cola, McDonald’s and more), yet within a few months everyone goes back to these brands as if nothing has happened. Hipster activism?

I hope our prayers, thoughts, rants and actions of solidarity do not go in vain. I dream and pray for a liberated Palestine, I want to be able to visit my homeland one day before I die as a free Palestinian. I have no expectations of that happening, but one can only hope. Ya Rab!

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