World leaders stand by as a land is reduced to rubble

World of Politics with Harry McGee

THE number of dead in Gaza has crept to 10,000 this week. Of those, over 4,000 are children. The Israelis have reduced this tiny strip of land wedged between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea to rubble.

The only sliver of good news came with the belief that eight-year-old girl Emily Hand, the daughter of an Irish man, might still be alive.

It was reported after Hamas’s brutal and murderous rampage on October 7 that the little girl, who was on a sleepover at a friend’s house at a neighbouring kibbutz to her own, was one of the 1,400 victims of the Hamas terrorists.

Her father, Thomas Hand, gave a poignant grief-stricken interview, which was carried throughout the world. He said that “death was a blessing” for his daughter, rather than being in the hands of Hamas.

I found it hard to fathom the logic, though. For me, where there is life there is hope. Of course, the waiting and the anxiety for families of the 230 people taken hostage must be intolerable. It could all end up horribly.

But for now there is a sliver of light, that they may still be alive and will come home.

The picture of Emily standing in a sun-filled field, wearing a blue top with a drawing of an ice pop denotes pure innocence.

On the other side, the images of dead children, maimed children and orphaned children are beyond heart-breaking. I have been following the news on every imaginable media and it is just overwhelming.

There was a report on kids in overcrowded hospitals with their limbs blown off. A young boy asks the doctor to give his legs back.

We see parents swaddling the bloody shrouds of their infants killed by Israeli bombardments. In a terrific, and terrifying report, by the BBC’s Fergal Keane on the impact that this awful war has had on children, we see an older mother grieve the death of her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. “She filled our whole world,” she weeps as she shows a reporter pictures of her little girl.

Pictured: Emily Hand…sliver of light in the darkness.

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