Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Remembering Tom, Raffaele Ciriello and a few of the others ...

Tom Hurndall had stayed in Rafah. He was only 21 where – in his mother's words – he lost his life through a single, selfless, human act. "Tom was shot in the head as he carried a single Palestinian child out of the range of an Israeli army sniper."

On Saturday, Robert Fisk wrote an article on Tom under the sub-heading, I wish I had met Tom Hurndall, a remarkable man of remarkable principle.

You see, there's me, who writes about the Middle East situation from the safety of home and then there was Tom Hurndall, following up his words and beliefs with action.

BBC made an interesting documentary over here. And News Safety reported on the killing of an award winning film maker, James Miller, by the IDF.

Iain Hook was shot in the back by a sniper with a scoped rifle, from a distance of 20 meters. Co-workers evacuated Hook through the hole in the wall made by militants, but he died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen before reaching a hospital.

Then there were the 4 UN observers: It said the four, from Austria, Canada, China and Finland, had taken shelter in a bunker under the post after it was earlier shelled 14 times by Israeli artillery. A rescue team was also shelled as it tried to clear the rubble. You don't want to research this one, as the killing was a drawn-out but wikipedia has covered it here.

"An Israeli bombardment killed four United Nations Observers, despite multiple warnings by UN peacekeeper. The peacekeepers at the post said the area within a kilometer of the post was hit with precision munitions, including 17 bombs and 12 artillery shells, four of which directly hit the UN observation post. The fatal strike with a "precision-guided weapon" according to UN military personnel hit the post at about 7.20pm. The victims were Austrian, Canadian, Chinese and Finnish UN-observers.

I became aware of this no or very small consequence style of killing when Raffaele Ciriello was shot by the IDF a few years ago. I had just found his website when I learned he was already dead.

The Guardian newspaper mentions it here.

I suspect it's going to be even more important to speak out with the newly-forming right-wing Israeli government. I hope things work out differently but let's not forget the past and the people who died trying to make a difference either by turning up to help or telling the less talked about side of the story.


Marianne said...

What you do, where you are, does make a difference. If every one of us decided to act on the basis of what our conscience convicts us in this issue, then we would see a different world.

My dear friend Bron's husband, a Kiwi, was the commanding officer who was responsible for those four UN peacekeepers who were killed. He carried their bodies back to Jerusalem in his jeep and as he did I cryed and prayed for them all.

Di Mackey said...

I can imagine his pain as he drove the bodies back to Jerusalem. Even now, remembering how it felt to me, an observer safely outside the situation ... the disbelief that it had happened despite the UN pleading with the IDF, telling them the guys were there and then to read they were finally killed after 6 hours of phone calls, interventions and promises to stop.

Carolien said...

If that is how the Israeli army takes care of foreign observers, imagine what they do to the Palestinians: http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072475.html

Di Mackey said...

Haaretz is an interesting newspaper, isn't it, Caroline. Thanks for the link.

There is so much hope in what the Israeli peace groups and caring citizens are doing. The machine called the IDF and the politicians ... they are something else entirely.

Carolien said...

And thank you for telling the less talked about side of the story, Di. Your post is a touching tribute to these people who tried to help.

paris parfait said...

Amen, my friend. Amen. xo

Alex said...

I don't know, Di, I just don't know. When will we all learn to live together?

Why can't we?


Di Mackey said...

I think these are the important stories and somehow they're difficult to find, Carolien.

Tara xo

I don't know, Alex but I think dialogue and openness take us closer towards getting along ...

lizardrinking said...

That was a great Fisk article. Jeff Halper, an Israeli peace activist who helped form Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, recently toured Australia. Antony Loewenstein, one of the founders of Independent Australian Jewish Voices, had this post on him, where he (Halper)wrote an article which did not get published. The post kind of details why those stories can be so difficult to find.
Tristan Anderson, of course, is the latest international to be badly injured.

Carolien said...

Have a look at the article 'When will we realise that there can't be this many "accidents"?'

This is a biography of Dr. Harald Fischer:

And this is what Brian Avery looked like after he had been shot in the face: