“Millions of now-shocked Europeans used to think that we were better than this, but now, the nations of the world will no longer accept our lectures on democracy, justice, and human rights,” according to Irish Member of European Parliament Clare Daly. Daly is a prominent, yet uninfluential, voice in political decision-making in the European Parliament. She has repeatedly used her platform to demand for an end to the ongoing genocide in Gaza.
However, even before the war on Gaza, the ‘nations of the world’ did not have much faith in European rhetoric, its lectures on human rights and democracy. For a long time now, certain political double standards have been in place. Daly projects European shock onto the global community, although many of its members are unsurprised by European double standards. Nonetheless, there’s a non-European “shock” now.
For the first time in history, we are witnessing a genocide live on social media. The horrifying images and footage of martyred Palestinian children, or the injured whose entire family was killed can now be viewed on phone screens across the world, not just via Arab publications or select media outlets. The influence of social media is evident in the massive demonstrations taking place across historically pro-Israel and US, such as Germany. These demonstrations label the conflict correctly: a genocide, when referring to Israeli aggression. Crowds are rallying to demand a ceasefire, and many are led by young Jewish voices.
Though public reaction is different this time, the biggest players in the West remain steadfast in their unwavering support of Israel, despite its flagrant disregard of international law
Despite all this, the blind bias for Israel has not changed except in words, even 40 days into genocide. Western governments maintain their blind support for Israel, politically, militarily, and financially.
This is a largely different reaction to that of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Crowds took the streets in opposition to the invasion. However, global politics were also split. Germany and France, or ‘Old Europe’ as the US referred to it, opposed the invasion of Iraq, making it impossible for the US and Britain to secure a security council resolution in their favor. Ultimately, the war they waged outside the legitimacy of the United Nations made them appear ‘rogue’ and portrayed the rest of the world both peoples and governments, as helpless.
Things are different now; there’s a popular worldwide rejection of the genocide. Former US president Donald Trump even stated that Israel has lost the battle of public opinion. Yet the biggest players in the West remain steadfast in their unwavering support of Israel, despite its flagrant disregard of international law and its bombing of refugee camps, hospital raids, and targeting of schools with white phosphorus.
This support will not only affect future political relations, but will also reverberate deeply in public perception and awareness. Though it could be positive, it could also be dangerous if people begin to question the existing structure of the world and its long-standing rules about what qualifies as ‘civilized’. This could play into the hands of right wing and more radical powers.
Although the idea of separating material and spiritual values, or ‘technology’ and ‘civilization’, is not new and is prevalent in certain developing countries (perhaps due to their lack of material power, as explained in an interview between Youssef Chahine and a foreign journalist), history has seldom witnessed a separation between these two values.
The gap between humanity (human solidarity) and civilization (politics) is clear. Are the demonstrations and chants of pro-Palestinian activists across the world enough to restore hope in humanity despite the decline of civilization?
In his book “The Dawn of Consciousness”, James Henry Breasted outlines “morals, values, and justice,” as the foundation on which ancient Egyptian civilization was built. It's no mystery that the “Code of Hammurabi” stands as the most significant relic from ancient Babylon, as well as in Ancient Greek teachings on philosophy and logic, the French Revolution’s principles on liberty, equality, and fraternity, the abolition of slavery in the 19th century and the universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In considering the evolution of human rights, which has allowed activists to engage in issues including the climate crisis, plastic reduction, preventing deforestation, and protecting animals, it should be obvious that the world will not idly stand by and watch a genocide unfold.
Major global players have pledged their support for a genocide that echoes the brutal patterns of the past. Initially, reports of hospital and school bombings, that were initially denied, concealed, or distorted, are now being justified and even supported.
In this sense, the separation between humanity (in this context, human solidarity) and civilization (influential world powers behind science, technology, and weaponry) is clear. So, if the demonstrations and chants of pro-Palestinian activists across the world – activists in Europe, Jewish communities in New York, and masses in South Africa – have restored some hope in humanity, will that be enough despite the decline of civilization?
* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Raseef22
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