“When the bombs stop dropping, make sure your anger remains.”
I’ve read it in a tweet when Gaza was still being bombed by Israel.
I found it to be a very simple yet powerful reminder to keep for the future.
Because it is not only the anger that remains.
It is the occupation itself.
The bombs might have stopped but Israeli forces are still storming Al Aqsa.
Palestinian families are still being ethnically cleansed in Jerusalem.
Protestors are still being arrested in the West Bank.
Young children are still being detained. Sometimes even killed.
Israel’s illegal settlements are still taking up parts of the the West Bank.
The system of restrictions to Palestinians’ freedom of movement within the West Bank is still difficult to fully comprehend (see for yourselves in the image below).
Israel still controls all the Palestinian land borders, airspace, export and import, if Gaza or the West Bank can have their airports.
Palestinians inside Israel and in the West Bank are still being harassed by increasingly violent settlers, empowered or at least emboldened by the Israeli police.
On top of everything, just this week, Israel has announced it will be conducting mass arrests, detaining people who have recently protested and spoken out against its violent colonial practices,
(Are there colonial practices that ARE NOT violent is a good question to ask.)
This is completely terrifying.
So if your anger has subsided, there are plenty of things that can reignite it.
Yet anger in itself doesn’t fuel change. We have to channel it into peaceful and meaningful action.
So that Gaza doesn’t get bombed again, every several years or so. Or, as Israeli officials have called it in a way that’s so overtly dehumanising: so that Israel doesn’t have to “mow the lawn.”
So what can we do?
Speak out. Talk about it, post about it, share good content about it (record a mini series within your podcast on it? Maybe).
Sign petitions. See what’s already happening in your country, what you can sign, how you can contribute, what local groups you can join.
Boycott Israeli companies that benefit and profit from this military occupation.
Some people have taken even more straightforward steps to prevent Western countries from shipping their arms to Israel.
In other words, demand what you yourself, depending on where you live, might take for granted: basic human dignity, freedom from state-sanctioned violence, and freedom from being a second-class citizen, if a citizen at all.
Because at the moment – and for decades now – Palestinians living anywhere in historic Palestine don’t have them.
An absence of bombs doesn’t change that but our actions might.