A wounded child is brought to UAE Hospital in Rafah after Israel bombed tents full of displaced Gazans, killing at least 45 and severely wounding hundreds

A wounded child at UAE Hospital after Israel bombed tents full of displaced Gazans in Rafah, killing at least 45 and severely wounding hundreds.

(Photo by Hani Alshaer/Anadolu via Getty Images)

We Are the Dead

With "one supreme act" of dying unquestioning in the name of war, said James Garfield on 1868's first Memorial Day, the fallen showed "the highest virtues of men." It's unclear if he'd include in that noble fellowship the forsaken children and women of Gaza who burned to death in their tents in Rafah after a gruesome attack Israel later blithely deemed "a mishap." Goddamn. One more time to Bibi and his ilk, the "fungus that grows on the rot": "There is no glory in war."

Three years after the Civil War, on May 5, 1868, Maj. Gen. John Logan of the Union veterans' Grand Army of the Republic declared Decoration Day, calling on the nation to decorate the graves of those who "for love of country" had "accepted death" and "made immortal their patriotism and their virtue." Americans were urged to "observe (what became) Memorial Day by praying, according to their individual religious faith, for permanent peace." That sentiment has kinda fallen by the wayside to make way for flag-drunk parades, sales on grills, laptops, lawnmowers, and in the case of grifterswho just won't go away, a slobfather's rant against his "human scum" enemies and his clueless younger son's outlandish claim to celebrate, "The family that gave up everything to Save America" - a canard one patriot termed, "For fuck's sake, even for a Trump, shockingly awful." Far more vital is the dictate from Veterans For Peace to remember the victims of what our "sociopathic leaders told us were 'the enemy,'" (and) the few elite winners in "the racket of war (who) delight in telling their puppets in government to order up another one."

And so to Gaza. 35,647 Palestinians dead, 79,852 wounded, over 11,000 missing, at least 520 dead in the West Bank. Since Thursday, 275 more dead, 666 more wounded. Ongoing Israeli assaults in north and central Gaza, looming famine, "catastrophic" closed crossings with already meager food and medical deliveries suspended and aid trucks intercepted by hungry crowds intent on "self-distribution." Most hospitals closed; doctors at those open say, "Nothing, absolutely nothing, justifies what we have witnessed here." Talks stalled on ceasefire and hostage release, vengeful madmen in power, a war whose benefits are "manifestly unclear," the ICC ruling a genocidal Israel must halt its offensive in Rafah and open all border crossings. Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid on the government of "Mr. Delusional Total Victory": "It is not winning in the war on Hamas or Hezbollah, so it has declared a war on reality." "We are running out of words to describe what is happening in Gaza," says senior UN aid official Edem Wosornu. "We have described it as a catastrophe, a nightmare, a hell on earth. It is all of these."

Astoundingly, it got worse Sunday night when Israel, having rejected the ICC ruling on Rafah with a "gloating," indiscriminate series of airstrikes, bombed a crowded tent camp in the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood, an Israel-designated "safe zone." The missiles started a fire among flammable tents that quickly spread into a massacre: Footage shows panicked women and children screaming and frantically trying to escape the flames amidst people trapped, cowering, burning in melting tents, charred bodies of children, some headless, on the ground, and exhausted civil defense teams rushing to rescue those burning and put out the flames. At least 45 people were killed; over 250 wounded, many critically with severe burns and severed limbs, were taken to the inundated Kuwaiti hospital, and the death toll is likely to rise. Survivors said they had finished night prayers "in peace" or gone to bed when the conflagration began. "There is no safe place here. No one is safe. Not even the dead who are buried underground are safe," said a bitter, distraught Abo Sebah. "Destruction, corpses, and killings. This is our life."

Israel’s attack on Rafah tent camp widely condemnedwww.aljazeera.com

The world, evidently impotent before Israel's barbarism, raged. Ireland, Italy, Germany, Norway, France, Spain, Canada, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the E.U., U.K., UAE and many in Israel were "horrified" and "outraged" by the "heinous massacre"; having funded the atrocities, the U.S. showed its usual moral fearlessness. "Israel must take every precaution possible to protect civilians," said a White House spokesperson. "We are actively engaging the IDF and partners on the ground to assess what happened." Jeremy Corbyn, former leader of the U.K.'s Labor Party, called the bombing "a monstrous failure of humanity." Aida Touma-Sliman, a Palestinian member of the Knesset, excoriated "this bloody government," which " is taking the madness and vindictiveness to a new criminal level." Israeli journalist Chaim Levinson cited an "it's-not done basic norm" in a well-ordered country: "This concept no longer exists, neither in Israel nor in the United States, because the Bibi-ist camp has no basic norms. Netanyahu needs a rotten state because he is the fungus that grows on the rot."

Humza Yousaf, the former first minister of Scotland, noted the footage of the victims - hungry, innocent, dispossessed babies, children, women, the elderly, living in tents, screaming, dismembered, burnt alive - to furiously pose the question of the times: "Bear witness to the images and ask yourself, 'Are you on the right side of history?'" "We will do everything possible to hold these barbarians and murderers accountable who have nothing to do with humanity," said Lebanese journalist Dalal Mawad, still haunted by seeing, in 1996 in a UN displaced camp during the Qana massacre by Israel, a decapitated newborn baby. "Last night, the same crime was committed again. Impunity means history will always repeat itself." Others cited other haunting sights from these brutal months in Gaza: too many lifeless babies, wrapped in blood-soaked white sheets, carried by weeping parents; the skeletal horror of wide-eyed children being starved to death; the searing video of Razan Muneer Arafat, 11, who lost her entire family in an Israeli air strike along with one of her legs, sobbing and shrieking, "I want my leg!"

Palestinian girl mourns loss of leg in Israeli attackwww.youtube.com

In response to the uproar, Israel has done what Israel does when charged with its countless crimes against humanity: Deny, deflect, defend, lie. In quick succession, they issued a stream of bullshit. First, they conducted the attack "in accordance with international law, using precise munitions, and based on prior intelligence indicating that two senior Hamas operatives were present," despite residents repeatedly saying they've never seen Hamas in that area. Then, apparently, "The strike ignited a blaze in a tent camp for displaced persons." Then, they "became aware of reports indicating that as a result several civilians in the area were harmed." Then, assured the IDF, "prior to the strike, many steps were taken to reduce the chances of harm to uninvolved people, including a visual aerial inspection...on the basis of which it was estimated that harm to uninvolved civilians was not expected." Then, "despite our utmost efforts not to harm innocent civilians, there was a tragic mistake," though at first Bibi called it "a mishap." "We are investigating the incident," he told the world, "because this is our policy."

In his second Inaugural speech in 1865, near the end of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln sought to heal a broken nation by urging fellow-citizens to move forward "with malice toward none." On a Memorial Day during World War One, an editorial in The Nation cited his call to ask, "Shall we learn no wisdom from this day?" Facing another war, "with its maimed bodies and shattered minds," it noted the vain "dreams of brotherhood and peace, dreams of the America that never yet has been." And so it goes. The war meant to end all wars has, of course, begotten many more, each with its folly, its dead, its wounded "with invisible, lifelong devils (in) their heads." Jeanette Rankin, the first woman in Congress, voting against war in 1917: "You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake." "We are the Dead," wrote John McCrae, a soldier and doctor serving in Belgium. "Short days ago/We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow/Loved and were loved, and now we lie/In Flanders fields." Nearly 370 Americans are buried there. Over 15,000 children are dead - though many have yet to be buried - in Gaza. A hell on earth. Lest we forget, man-made, by Israel and America.

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