Gaza: Beneath the shadows of famine

Ali Inan

In the rare interplay of journalistic discourse, fast-food finds an unlikely mention amidst the harrowing context of a nation caught in the throes of famine, and a columnist compelled to address it. Yet, such times demand acknowledgment, especially when the siege of Gaza by Israel has been tantamount to a calculated withholding of sustenance and water from its beleaguered inhabitants. Within this discourse, the juxtaposition of images reveals the stark contrast between the abundance enjoyed by one faction and the deprivation suffered by another.

In a scene rendered surreal by its callous normality, Israeli soldiers beam with satisfaction as they receive towers of pizza boxes, their expressions betraying no semblance of the horrors unfolding around them. With heart emojis punctuating their posts, gratitude seemingly abounds for the provision of fast-food bounty amid the chaos. Meanwhile, in the stark reality of Gaza, children are reduced to pleading figures against iron gates, their arms outstretched in desperation, bowls empty and hearts heavy with hunger. These images, side by side, speak volumes about the grotesque disparity between the perpetrators and victims of this humanitarian crisis.

Amid the desolation of Gaza, scenes of scavenging for necessities paint a grim picture of survival against the odds. Swarming like bees upon an abandoned truck, Palestinians grasp for scraps of flour and canned goods, their actions a stark testament to the scarcity that defines their existence.

In the relentless onslaught of bombings and drones, lives are snuffed out in an instant, adding to the toll of thousands already lost to the conflict. The deliberate destruction of Gaza is a campaign of terror, designed to render the region uninhabitable and erase all semblance of hope. Beyond the cacophony of explosions lies a quieter, more insidious form of genocide, one that unfolds slowly but inexorably. In the flimsy tents that now dot the landscape, the spectre of famine looms large, its grip tightening with each passing day.

This engineered famine, orchestrated by design rather than nature’s whim, constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and human decency. Human Rights Watch has sounded the alarm, condemning Israel’s use of starvation as a weapon of war and its deliberate obstruction of humanitarian aid. The consequences are dire, with the looming spectre of disease poised to claim more lives than the bombs and drones that rain down from above.

The United Nations paints a dire picture, with hundreds of thousands facing the spectre of starvation in a man-made crisis of staggering proportions. Children, the most vulnerable among them, teeter on the brink of malnutrition and disease, their plight exacerbated by the blockade that prevents vital aid from reaching them.

As the international community looks on, the shame of complicity hangs heavy in the air. Rather than intervene to halt the famine, many have turned a blind eye, allowing Israel to perpetrate its crimes with impunity. This collective failure to act stands as a damning indictment of our shared humanity, a stain on the conscience of nations that have turned their backs on the suffering of the Palestinian people. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the right to life, liberty, and security of person, a right imperiled by the deliberate deprivation inflicted upon innocent civilians.

Likewise, the Geneva Conventions and customary international law prohibit the use of starvation as a method of warfare, underscoring the imperative for accountability and redress in the face of such egregious violations. In the face of such horrors, silence is not an option.

Now is the time for the international community to uphold the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international law, and to take decisive action to alleviate the suffering of Gaza’s besieged population. The principles of human dignity and solidarity compel us to stand in solidarity with the victims of injustice and to demand accountability for those responsible for their plight. It is incumbent upon us all to bear witness to the atrocities unfolding in Gaza, to speak out against injustice, and to demand accountability for those responsible. Only through collective action and unwavering solidarity can we hope to bring an end to the suffering and pave the way for a future of peace and dignity for all.

The writer is a PhD scholar in English literature, and a lawyer and international relations analyst, based in Lahore. He can be reached at:

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