As Gaza burns, Lebanon smoulders, Iraq collapses, faceless children lie in isolated terror
Nameless and faceless: The anonymous killed
Nora Barrows-Friedman writing from Deheisheh Refugee Camp, occupied Palestine, Live from Palestine, 17 July 2006
A Palestinian relative of Ibrahim al-Nabahin prays over his body at a mosque prior to his burial in al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip 13 July 2006. (MaanImages/Wesam Saleh)
There will be no statistics in this journal entry because what difference does 10 shredded children in Gaza, or 15 sliced children in Lebanon, or 40 smashed children in Iraq make to the international community anyway? What difference does it make when the twisted and sick US corporate media doesn't even mention their names, or their ages, or their favorite color -- something to put a human face on the mangled mess made by the latest US-manufactured, Israeli-fired missile that destroyed what used to be a nose, a mouth, two eyes, freckles, cheek, or forehead?
Yes, there were "escalations" today in Gaza and Lebanon. There were "military strikes" and "retaliatory attacks" and "intensifications" and "deaths." there were "officials" and "spokespeople" and "leaders" joining in the finger-pointing and the name-calling. Meanwhile, Arab people are burning. Numbers and statistics become, therefore, irrelevant. Language loses its meaning on the tongue, becomes sludge and dribbles down one's chin. My dear friend Siham said today, "What does the term 'civilized society' mean when they are killing people like this?"
What becomes of a language that has lost its original meaning? Does it shrivel up and slink into an abyss to mingle with the ghosts of these headless, armless, forgotten brown-skinned kids? And as we watch the footage, as we hear on the phone from friends witnessing the carnage in their backyards, as we read the articles, how many times can we use the words "unbelievable," "disgusting," "horrific?" They have lost all meaning as well.
We need a new language to describe these nightmares. We need a new vehicle to convey the disbelief and the disgust and the horror as Gaza burns, as Lebanon smolders, as Iraq collapses.
As we rub our eyes tonight, bleary from thick cigarette smoke and too many hours of being glued to the television, my friend Mustafa says, "No one notices, no one cares. We are alone in this world." This is the aloneness. The isolation. Gazan and Lebanese and Iraqi children are huddled in their beds tonight, screaming out to the wall of silence in a sore-throated language, isolated in their terror. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Nora Barrows-Friedman, 27, is the Senior Producer and co-host of Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio. She is in the Dheisheh refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, continuing her work with Palestinian refugee youth in a media training project at the Ibdaa Cultural Center. She can be reached at