Monday, January 25, 2021

Barghouthi: Nations are Measured by their Conduct in Crises

By Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi - March 14, 2020
Section: [Main News] [Opinion]
Tags: [Health Care]

The conduct of nations in crises is a measure of their resourcefulness and strength, and the history of the Palestinian people is packed with countless instances that reflect their spirit of unity and harmony when crises struck, of which the first Intifada (uprising) of 1987 is the most prominent, especially during the first few years. At that time, Palestinian society transformed into a united symbiotic fused fabric of resistance to the oppressive Israeli occupation.

Palestine has lived through two new crises in the last few days. One was the fire that broke out in the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza, which took the lives of sixteen victims with many sustaining severe burns and will need months, if not years, of treatment and recovery. Immediately after the incident, many individuals responded one after the other offering support and sympathy to devastated families. 

The other was the discovery of 35 cases of people infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) through contact with tourists who had come to visit Bethlehem. It is of course very likely that new cases will be found in other districts of Palestine, it is what has happened, and is happening in many other countries.

The response to this crisis is plain and simple: no panic and no extreme exaggerated measures in dealing with the dangers, while keeping meticulous attention to effective preventative methods, of which the public must be well informed. Dealing calmly with this crises is essential, but what is also necessary is a flow of public compassion and support for the afflicted, and the cooperation of those exposed with the set quarantine procedures at home or in designated medical facilities to prevent further spread of the virus. 

Essentially too, this support must come with consideration and care for the medical teams whose duty has been manning the forefront trenches of confrontation with this disease. They deserve the utmost respect for their exemplary dedication that can be emulated in society at large. 

In crises, heroism and dedication to serving others is multifaceted. These attributes could emerge in the struggle against tyranny and military occupation and in the battle against diseases and epidemics in order to protect and preserve the life, health and wellbeing of the entire population.

We as a cohesive society can surmount the coronavirus crisis with our calm reasonable attitudes that are considerate not only of one’s safety and that of one’s family, but extends to others as well. With that, we can quickly defeat this disease and its distressing impact.

Regretfully, two recent utterly shocking incidents have to be mentioned. One was the bigoted verbal attack on two Japanese women in Ramallah, and the other the abominable vicious attack and rape of a Polish woman visiting Palestine. 

Both these incidents reveal an offensive prejudiced behavior that should not have been, or ever be, the image reflective of a people struggling against one of the most oppressive racist systems of our time. 

The second incident in particular was nothing less than a horrid criminal act that has stained our tradition, religion and morality, and trampled all over the values of dignity and rights of women. For the perpetrators of this awful crime, punishment must be swift and stringent, befitting their dreadful deed, because they did not just harm the victim, but have smeared with shame the face of the entire Palestinian population.   

Finally, sincerest salutations go to the unknown soldiers confronting danger with great courage, defending the health and wellbeing of every Palestinian man, woman and child, with no expectation of thanks or gratitude from anyone.

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