My good friend Nazir Ahmed has sent me an invitation to attend a meeting conducted to pray for innocent victims in Gaza during Israeli offensive against Hamas. There was a slogan engraved in that invitation: “Down with Israel, down with Zionists”. There was a huge demonstration too.
After two days, he called me:”I know you won’t join any organized movements. But you should defend the humanity by boycotting all Jewish goods and writing articles to support Gaza”
“I don’t see anything related to humanity in these actions.”
“Dear Uday, can you explain your stand? Why can’t boycott Jewish products and services?”
“Can you be a role model, Nazir? Please stop using your iPhone, Google, Intel and close Facebook account. Stop drinking Starbucks Coffee and don’t wear Levis. From Jesus Christ, Karl Marx and Albert Einstein to Mark Zuckerberg all are Jews -You can see a Jew’s foot print in all walks of life.”
“Hmm. But why don’t you write supporting Gaza on humanitarian basis?” he asked.
“I would love to. But you see, while 10 people died in Gaza, more than 5000 people – Yazidis – were killed in Iraq by Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists, burying some of the victims alive and kidnapping hundreds of women. The entire Yazidi religion, one of Iraq’s oldest minorities, faces slaughter by ISIS. Why don’t you ask me to write about it? What about Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh? What about Kashmiri Pundits? What about innocent Muslims in Afganisthan? Or is it that, they are not human?”
“But that doesn’t justify Gaza killings…”he said.
“Very true…in Gaza, 1.8 million human beings are living under siege in extreme poverty, with 90 percent that don’t have access even to water. I believe that they too are our brothers and sisters. So I condemn all acts of violence and terrorism. But you, like the USA, have double standards when it comes to humanity”
“You are indirectly alleging that I am supporting only Muslims?”
“You do not support Islamic followers too…In the Middle East everyday 100s of Muslims are being killed by Muslims. It happens in Pakistan too. Why don’t you condemn those acts? You have selective humanism. You believe in exclusive humanity. You appear to be comfortable with all killings except in Gaza – that is – only when a non-Muslim kills Muslim. What kind of humanity is that?”
“You are accusing me as religious fanatic?” he got angry.
“You are my friend, so I know, you are not a fundamentalist or fanatic. The issue here is that you blindly trust the market media…”
“You are portraying Gaza conflict as Jewish-Muslim war. It is NOT…”
“Is it? Then let us call it a Palestine- Israel war. Israel’s violent occupation of the Palestine country…”
“Palestine as a country never existed. Palestine is not a tribe, not a land and not a language – they are Arabs (Arabs from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi). There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Most of the so-called Palestine region is Jordan today. Palestine is a British invention after WW1. “Palestinian People” as a description of Arabs in Palestine appeared for the first time in the preamble of the 1964 Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Charter, drafted in Moscow”
“I didn’t know that!”
“Nobody bothers to know truth – people just go by market-media. Both Palestine-entity and Israel formed in 1947. In 1947 Nov 29 UN Gen Assembly distributed land in that area in a ratio of 57:43 (Israel: Palestine). The Arabs control 99.9 % of the Middle East lands. Palestinian Arabs are spread all over the Middle East. Israel controls 1/10 th of 1 % of land….”
“In Israel, Jews are the majority = 75.3% and Arabs: 20.7% – but the number of Arabs is fast growing. Technically they won’t be a minority in few years down the line. I won’t be surprised if Israel becomes Arab nation.”
“So you mean to say, it is not a religious war?”
“Israel is a democratic country. Arabs have voting rights in Israel. To my knowledge NO other countries (read Muslim countries) in the Middle East have given voting rights to Palestinian Arabs. Other Arab countries are not absorbing Palestinian Arabs. So why don’t you question those Arab countries? Palestine land has been grabbed by Israel: Lands acquired by Jews were – mostly purchased and some parts captured through war.”
“So you agree that parts of West bank and Gaza were captured by Israel – it belongs to Palestinian Arabs…”
“Again, you are wrong. The first charter of PLO never included West bank and Gaza and Trans Jordan in the Palestine map. PLO included these areas after 1967 war. Gaza and West Bank are two different places – there are no common characters. And even today, there is no internationally recognized line between Israel and so-called Palestine…”
“It sounds like you are in favor of Israel and not with Gaza”
“Why should I be? For me it doesn’t make any difference between Israelis and Arabs- both are human beings like me. And about Gaza: There are 3.3 millions Palestinian Arabs in Jordan where as only 1.6 million are in Gaza. Gaza (total 372 km) population is 1.82 million (there are non-Arabs too). It is governed by Hamas. The population growth in Gaza is one of the highest in the world…”
“Funnily, you people sitting here, support Hamas. But Palestinian Arabs in Gaza do not…According to latest survey, 63% in Gaza does not support Hamas. Arab world, including Palestine Authority President Mahamoud Abbas holds Hamas responsible for this conflict. The Palestinian Centre for Human rights, reported that Israel army giving civilians in Gaza warning notices, warning shots and by phone call alerting them about the attack. But Hamas provokes Israelis to create martyrs and control Gaza”
“All your arguments are in favor of Israel…”
“I am telling the facts – I don’t take side. When it comes to war, Israel also act like Jihadists, using religions. Thousands of people are getting killed by Israeli army. Just because we say one side is right, the problem won’t be solved….”
“You are confusing me…”
“Nazir, we have to stop religious polarization and believe in Humanism. Hamas are exploiting Palestinian Arabs – it is pure murky politics. Hamas turns Palestinians into ‘human shields’. Religious polarization – whether Jewish or Islam – is dangerous…”
“I know most of the Arab countries are boot-lickers of USA…”
“You said it. Let’s fight the real danger. It’s all about money and greed. Religion, ethics and ideology are just their tools to make money. Will you stand up and fight for justice for Hindus in Pakistan, Buddhist in Bangladesh, Tamils in Sri Lanka, Pundits in Kashmir, Muslims in Afganisthan and Yszidis in Iraq?”
“I was just….on humanitarian…” he mumbled something.
“I can’t have double standards in humanity. I stand for inclusive humanity. For, I follow Sanatan Dharma which is fundamentally based upon the concept of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (The whole world is one family). So, every day we pray “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” (May all beings everywhere be happy). So I am not used to discriminate human beings based on caste, race and religion. Humanity comes first, faith later. So, I don’t need any lessons from you about humanity” I told him. He changed the subject.
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