Vacation is a time to relax; a time to turn off the work, the sights and sounds. During the terrible period of global violence of August 2014, it was a welcome chance to escape.
Traveling to a foreign country could theoretically give a person a chance to focus on just being a tourist and detach from craziness of every day. England has so many great attractions; it seemed a well planned day would keep a diligent tourist occupied. However, the walls, streets and people of England were obsessed with a perceived Israeli “occupation” and aggression that bombarded the short break.
The London subway, the “underground”, was filled with posters entitled “Crisis in Gaza”. The poster had a picture of a boy in front of what appeared to be the remains of a building. The text alongside the picture had an appeal to text in £5 to help him rebuild his destroyed home. It was endorsed by a dozen organizations including Oxfam and Save the Children. Of course, the posters did not describe how Hamas started the fighting and launched its rockets targeting Israeli civilians from Gazan civilian neighborhoods.
There were many stores in London with banners that called to “end Israeli apartheid” posted in the store windows. Of course, there were no notes that Israel has over 1 million Muslim citizens, but Gaza doesn’t have a single Jew.
The Saturday protest I stumbled upon had about 150 people waving Palestinian flags and yellow flags with a black four finger “R4bia” on it. The R4bia flag originated as a protest to the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, but has spread across the Middle East and beyond as a call for jihad against western values and a restoration of the caliphate. Of course, a quiet protest against the overthrow of the democratically-chosen Egyptian government masks the movement’s greater goal of a new Muslim world order.
In the town of Bath, England, a building housing the Islamist Society hung banners that read “Free Palestine” and “End the War”. It was unclear but understood that the sign “Free Palestine” was a call for war to destroy Israel which was contrary to the other sign (or more to the point, end the war in which Hamas was losing).
In Brighton, a fruit store had two placards at the checkout counter: one read “End the Occupation” and the other read “Free Gaza”. Of course, there was no note that Israel left Gaza in 2005 and didn’t enforce an embargo until 2007 when Hamas (dedicated to destroy Israel) took control of the territory.
So much for getting away. I sought a moment to close my eyes to today’s troubles. Instead, ironically, I was constantly confronted by arguments that were blind to reality.
Gaza Crisis poster: http://www.dec.org.uk/
FirstOneThrough on Save The Children charity: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/save-the-children/