Usually, I don’t like twitter. Its enforced brevity seems to speak volumes about the reduction of our ability to understand and articulate the complexities of social phenomena; its ephemeral character seems to underscore our incapacity to solidly stick with political concerns and meaningfully act on them; its fragmented quality and entrepreneurial ethos further break apart fragile social bonds.
But Palestinians, in particular, sending out tweets from Gaza these past several weeks, have illuminated with poignant intensity how such a space can do just the opposite. Such messages have humanized an inhumane situation, giving voice, face, and depth to what would otherwise be flattened out and even erased altogether. It has kept Gaza constantly in the hearts and minds of millions, allowing for acts of local, regional, and global solidarity, in spirit as well as materially and emotionally. It has (re)invigorated bonds between people who, regardless of nation or religion or culture, feel more closely tied to each others’ fate, pain, and suffering, and are are more willing to struggle toward justice/freedom together. And maybe it’s made some of those disbelievers actually begin to believe: this is murder, this is genocide.
There is a necessity and impossibility about looking at the tweets coming out of Gaza. So many hone in on excruciating moments under the most horrific of conditions that no person should have to bear, and demonstrate the necessary yet impossible decisions people in Gaza are being forced to make daily, hourly under siege, embargo, and occupation. The tapestry of such missives should make the whole of humanity “stand for Gaza,” and moreover, ensure that what’s happening to Gaza stops, now. Instead, the tweets are forming an increasingly growing poetry of resilience, resistance, and courage, certainly, but also, the worst of sorrows and a feeling of helplessness to halt it.
I can’t get one tweet especially out of my mind. It was from someone in Gaza, speaking of how each night, as the bombing starts, they divide up their family into different rooms of their home in Gaza, so that in the morning, some while at least have survived if one of those bombs hits their house. I can’t stop thinking of what kind of “calculus” must go into such decision making about those one loves.
#IStandForGaza feels necessary and yet far from sufficient to even remotely aid those trapped in Gaza right now.
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(Anonymous artist, solidarity square, July 2014.)