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International Solidarity Against Terrorism (If Only)

Photo: RNZ

This was never supposed to happen in New Zealand. That's why we and our friends, here in Christchurch, are in such a state of shock.

Mass murder, inside a house of worship, is something that happens somewhere else, far away.

Earlier in the day, Martin and I, and many other Cantabrians were in the Cathedral Square supporting the students expressing their concern about climate breakdown, a more meaningful phrase than climate change. It was a happy event. But soon after we came home, a friend came over and told us about the shooting at Christchurch's two mosques.

The news travelled quickly around the world. We received phone calls from our sons in Melbourne, emails from friends in Canada, Britain and Israel. The Israeli emails were from a Palestinian-Israeli doctor and a Jewish-Israeli retired academic. Both men are very busy humanitarian activists, challenging an extreme right wing regime yet not too busy to think of us. All the contacts asked if we were OK, our replies were, OK physically but shaken mentally.

New Zealand is geographically so far away from anywhere else. Yet the news of the horror reached everywhere; so many messages of sympathy, including from prominent international political and spiritual leaders, were sent to New Zealand.

A world united against terrorism.Yes? Yet other cases of terrorism don't even make mainstream media. I am thinking, for example, of a very recent incident in Hebron, in the West Bank, Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Two Palestinian toddlers, three-year-old Wael Rabaji and his 18-month-old sister Malak Rabaji, burned to death because Israeli soldiers prevented a Palestinian fire truck from approaching the scene of the fire. This incident has been reported on alternative media but not on mainstream media . No messages of sympathy.

No international solidarity when terrorism is inflicted on Palestinians.

Except, this time support for the Palestinians has come from Britain's Fire Brigades Union (FBU). They are angry. It's time someone was angry! The Palestinian fire fighters were trained in Scotland; they could have saved the small children. Why is the West so indifferent to the ongoing sadistic suffering being imposed on Palestinians? The silence , from mainstream media and from western political and religious leaders, convinces Israel that it is untouchable. They can even let Palestinian toddlers burn to death.

The Christchurch students rallying for more action re climate concerns are correct to see climate breakdown as an existential threat. But it is not the only one. There are 3 interrelated threats to our civilisation: climate breakdown, war leading to nuclear war and a loss of any concept of humanity.

What happened in Christchurch on 15 March was shocking. Cantabrians mourn the loss of lives and appreciate overseas messages of sympathy.

But who will speak out about what happened in Hebron? I've been to Hebron. It's where the most violent fundamentalist Zionists constantly terrorise Palestinians. It's where, in 1994, a fundamentalist Zionist, born in the US, shot dead 29 Muslims at prayer. A memorial shrine in honour of the killer, Baruch Goldstein, was erected in a Hebron settlement.

That was in 1994. The silence from the West signaled to Zionist extremists that violence could continue. I've written to the NZ Firefighters about the March 2019 atrocity described earlier in this article, hoping that our fire fighters will unite with their British counterparts to demand action. Someone should speak out. Moral leadership must come from somewhere.

Maybe it will from the Union movement.

Or else there will be more dead toddlers, like little Wael and his sister Malak.


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