Palestine: Women of Beit Hanoun Go "Over the Top"

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Women of Beit Hanoun
Go "Over the Top"
by C.L. Cook
[The news of Israel's tower soldiers firing on Ken O'Keefe and his party demonstrating in Beit Hanoun, appropriately enough, on November 29th, the International Day of Solidarity with the People of Palestine, reminded of this old article I wrote in 2006. It followed shortly the invasion of Lebanon. This then from the wayback file. - ape]
The symbol of the end of the 'Gilded Age' and ultimate refutation of Hope in the still young 20th Century, the ‘Trenches’ of the First War, horrors filled with dead farm boys a-swim in mud, blood, rats and the reek of futility was given an eerie revisiting today in Palestine.

Through the courtesy of BBC television, we witnessed not the flower of Europe's manhood going "over the top," but the women of Palestine, desperate to shield their sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers from the relentless, and pitiless, and murderous Israeli Defence Force (IDF), mounting the barricade to face naked the guns.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Palestine: Women of Beit Hanoun
Go "Over the Top"

Saturday, 04 November 2006

The "War to End All Wars" failed of course to fulfill its billing, just as all its predecessors failed to fulfill theirs. No, this waste of innocents, the insatiable maw that was the "Great War," was not finale but merely prelude to grosser horrors to come.

Emblematic of the grim dehumanization the future promised, images of doomed soldiers sent "over the top," out of their trench shelters, to march slowly into the remorseless machinery of modern warfare is the legacy of that bloody century: We are the inheritors today of a moral degeneracy culminating on our television screens, where we can watch men of high station joke about distant women and children destroyed, rent to pieces by bombs and bullets and worse, as we eat supper.

The women clambered over the earthen walls, as the foot soldiers of the distant war past had, with hope but no assurance they would survive; but unlike those long dead Tommy’s and Huns, they went over the walls thrown up by Israeli bulldozers to stop the killing, not participate in it. They challenged the humanity of those Jewish soldiers surrounding their Mosque, daring them to stay their hand, challenging them to show mercy and become men again.

Perhaps some held their fire. Perhaps others aimed high, or wide of the burqas; but clearly others did not.
I watched the women fall to the ground dead tonight. Not "insurgents," "terrorists," or "Hamas;" not "Hezbullah," "al Qaida," nor "Taliban," but mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, mercilessly shot down by cowards; robot warriors who failed, outside a mosque in Beit Hanoun, to claim their humanity. Failed, just as the cowards in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and every other place where soldiers and their masters surrender duty to conscience and kill.

The men that rushed into the firestorm in aid of the stricken Heroines came under fire today too, as so often they have before in Palestine, falling victim to Israel's Defence Force and its so-called "Rules of Engagement;" rules [sic] allowing men desert decency, deny mercy, and treat every being in their range as a "legitimate" target of war.

Cases of criminal outrage against humanity committed by the IDF within what survives of Palestine are legion: Think Lebanon in many multiples. It is a wonder then women would climb into that gallery, face the assassins of so many of their kith and kin, and deliver to the killers a chance to redeem their humanity, or not.

Here's a look at Google News of Israel’s recent doings in Gaza.

That’s just today, [November 4, 2006] tomorrow is another, and the next day another; all days of brutality, meted out over the months and years and decades in Palestine.

Where even the "greatest" war ended, its dead planted in rows like so much wheat, in this killing field the crosshairs never cease, and the flowers of the nation are yet cut down with no end in sight.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.  


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