A short, three letter word. It’s the sound some make when they yawn. The guttural release when something goes right; a goal, a catch, a winning pitch. The word that allows the massacre of innocent children. From five months old to five years old. Below and beyond. Children are dying. This is no epidemic. There is no disease. This is war.
Words float around on TV screens around the office: Hamas. Israel. Gaza. Tunnels. Occupation. Palestine. Terrorism. Defence. Western influence. Children.
My phone, a product of its generation, offers up emoji whenever I hit upon a corresponding keyword.
I type Child. And 👶 appears.
I type Children. And 🚸 appears.
A toddler’s face, smiling.
Two children, holding hands.
The harsh reality is only made harder when illustrated in the language of the young.
It makes you sick.
There aren’t many I know who could explain the situation in Israel right now. The issues are far too old, far too complex, far too beyond the point of understanding that there can be no cliff notes, no cheat sheet.
My son is six months old. I look at him and wonder, often, what he might do, where he might go, what he will see? How can I leave something good for him, something positive?
And then I look around and I despair.
The situation in Gaza is horrendous. The Channel 4 journalist Jon Snow published a video over the weekend talking about his time there.
A follow up piece to a blog post he wrote before that, it addresses some of the atrocities that are happening to children in the area.
It makes you weep.
After watching, I shared it on Facebook. On Facebook. Others watched. Others shared. I commented on one share that perhaps the video should’ve explained how a viewer could help. Maybe some kind of call to action. The cheek. The Western presumed privilege. The disgusting arrogance. ‘Great video, Jon, but are you expecting me to Google it now?’ FFS.
I did Google it. I discovered the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. I’ve donated and right now I’m looking at how I might volunteer in the region and actually help.
Because something needs to be done.
Because someone needs to help.
Because we are better than this.
So much better.
I uninstalled Twitter last week. Logged out, switched off, unplugged.
The reason? Someone I follow retweeted an image of a dead child into my feed. A grotesque corpse. Held up by adults to show the literal effect of the missiles and shells that rain down on Gaza daily. It/he/she can never be unseen. Twitter displays images ‘inline’, which means you can see whatever gets sent no matter what.
I went into shock. Seeing death, in any form, is no pleasure for anyone. Seeing death like this. In this manner. Made me ill. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t think. I could barely see straight. Since then a day hasn’t passed whereby I haven’t thought on this. So many thoughts. So many reasons.
Again, Western privilege.
Again, how dare dead children interrupt my day. What on earth are these images doing in the place where it is my job to help brands sell more stuff.
WTF Whatley. Who are you? Do. Something.
FFS, someone do something.
I did something.
I wrote this.
I’ll do more. I don’t know what yet.
What will you do?