Supporting Opinion

Can Rwanda show Gaza how to come back from the brink?

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s exactly six months since the barbarity carried out by Hamas triggered a completely disproportionate genocide in Gaza; six months since we first tuned into the evening news to witness the daily slaughter of innocent people while the world’s leaders sit on their hands.

It’s exactly 30 years since an even more brutal mass murder was carried out – only this was before social media and instant access to headlines. So when a million people were butchered over 100 days, it was easier for global leaders to ignore this atrocity because they didn’t have to deal with it on the daily news.

Twenty years ago – ten years after the bloodshed in Rwanda – I visited the African country that must be one of the most beautiful, and brutal, places on God’s earth.

Five years ago, I visited the West Bank and I saw how the Palestinian people were corralled into small sectors of the land they supposedly had authority over – and I saw how apartheid was alive and thriving long after South Africa had embraced its new dawn.

Travelling with Trócaire, we didn’t get into Gaza because – as the world has long known – it wasn’t the easiest place to access, even before Benjamin Netanyahu determined that the appropriate response to the brutal murder of 1,200 Israelis and the kidnapping of several hundred more was to wipe out all Palestinians, men, women and children, by either killing them directly or starving them to death.

And somehow it’s still sufficient for the world’s superpowers like the United States to warn the Israelis to go easy on civilians while restocking their arsenal so that the killing can continue until the place is razed to the ground.

Already the question is what will the future look like?

How can Gaza – or Palestine or Israel – come back from this?

How can people co-exist in a shared space when so much has happened over the last six months?

Ironically, Rwanda – coming from the depths of depravity – is perhaps proof that there can still be light after the darkest days. But it’s a hell of a road to travel.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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