Jon Snow has been speaking to youngsters in Gaza City about their lives and how they’re coping with living in a warzone. And he also talks to Dr Mads Gilbert – a Norwegian doctor working at al Shifa hospital – who is treating some of the children.
During Israel’s assault on Gaza in December 2008, two doctors working from the frontline attempted to bring attention to the imbalance of power that exists at the heart of this conflict — an imbalance which weighs heavily towards the Israeli side. While Israeli media spokespeople used airtime to argue that Israel was only targeting Hamas militants, Dr. Mads Gilbert and Dr. Erik Fosse of the Norwegian Aid Committee attempted to bring attention to just how many women and children were being wheeled in to be treated for shrapnel and bullet wounds, and how many families they were treating all at once. They have since written a book about the event and Gilbert will be touring North America to spread their message.
The following was written by Fatemah Meghji, the national co-ordinator of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights and a university student who has been organizing a nation-wide tour for Gilbert. Below her piece you will find a listing of tour dates and locations — be sure to attend an event if you can, I know I will.
by Fatemah Meghji
From Dr. Mads Gilbert & Dr. Erik Fosse’s Eyes in Gaza:
The boy with the destroyed brain did not need anaesthetic; he could no longer feel anything. The other lay in an artificial coma with intravenous anaesthetic agents to soften the pain and allow the ventilator to work without resistance from the boy’s own breathing. A large bandage covered both his eyes. He could not see anyway. He was already blind.
Where could I cry out the despair and rage I felt for all this terrible fate we saw at such close quarters? Would the heavens hear? Will the world hear? They know that this is happening, after all. The numbers tick into the West every single afternoon, to the news agencies, to the intelligence services and to the diplomatic missions of the world’s most powerful nations, who do not even make an attempt to pull in the reins and control the wildness of the Israeli war machine.
Dr. Mads Gilbert has worked and practiced medicine in Gaza for more than thirty years. One of the few western observers on the ground during Israel’s January bombardment, Gilbert’s testimony during the offensive was a critical source of information. On January 3, after an Israeli strike on a Gaza vegetable market, Gilbert sent a text message to his Norwegian and International contacts:
‘From doctor Mads Gilbert in Gaza: Thanks for your support. They bombed the central vegetable market in Gaza city two hours ago. 80 injured, 20 killed. All came here to Shifa. Hades! We wade in death, blood and amputees. Many children. Pregnant woman. I have never experienced anything this horrible. Now we hear tanks. Tell it, pass it on, shout it. Anything. DO SOMETHING! DO MORE! We’re living in the history books now, all of us!’
Laura Flanders spoke with Gilbert recently as he embarked on a speaking tour in the United States.
The following from Juan Cole:
He says he has seen one military casualty come into the hospital. Of 2500 wounded, 50% are women and children. Doing surgery around the clock. There are injuries you do not want to see– children coming in with open abdomens, with injured legs, we had to amputate both of them. This is a war on the civilian population of Gaza. It is a very young population. They cannot flee. They are fenced in. They are bombing one and a half million people in a cage.