By Richard Sudan
Israels assault on Palestine and Gaza left hundreds of people dead including women and children.
It was brutal, merciless, unrelenting, and quickly provoked widespread condemnation from around the world.
Israels flagrant and disgraceful disregard for civilian life was once again laid bare for all to see. But as is always the case, the scorn of most of the international community was not enough to deter the Zionist occupation from bombing Gaza indiscriminately, causing a vast loss of life and hundreds of injuries. The long-term impact and psychological scars from the pain and trauma inflicted will be immeasurable. It might never be known. Gaza is an open air prison, and there is nowhere to flee for its residents when Israel decides to bomb what is one of the most densely populated areas of land on the planet.
People all around the world demanded that lawmakers in their respective countries do more to deter Israel from its actions, and that the wider international community take measures to prevent Israel from killing and massacring innocent Palestinians, while breaking international law, at will. The painful and heart-wrenching images of the incalculable loss of life were quickly shared over social media sparking widespread anger. And the power of social media, despite the censorship of pro-Palestinian posts on some platforms, had the effect of smashing the mainstream medias attempts at presenting the illusion of an equal conflict between two equal sides.
And, in the face of Israels violent assault on Gaza and Palestine, beyond the sharing of information, we were reminded of the practical power of ordinary people, and their strength in numbers when unified in taking action in solidarity with the Palestinians.
Firstly, of course, there were mass protests organized very quickly, within hours in some cases, which were able to mobilize and gather thousands of people to take to the streets in major capital cities across the world. While its true protests themselves dont effect change, in large enough numbers, their size can force an issue onto primetime mainstream platforms.
As was the case in London, the mainstream media simply cannot ignore tens of thousands of people marching through the capital, calling out Israels crimes against the Palestinians, as much as they might desire to. They can try to play down the numbers of people marching, but they cannot get away with ignoring it.
Second, we saw the news, that Italian dock-workers, in the Italian port city of Livorno had simply refused to load a shipment, destined for Israel, once they learned that the cargo was arms, likely to be used in the war on the Palestinians.
The port workers union reportedly released a statement saying, "The port of Livorno will not be an accomplice in the massacre of the Palestinian people."
Many will be hoping that the stance of the port workers sparks a chain reaction of similar action around the world.
In Leicestershire, England, demonstrators scaled the roof of an Israeli arms manufacturer as part of a protest organized in response to Israels bombardment of Palestine. Rescue service crews were called to the location of the protest, at UAV Tactical Systems factory.
However, remarkably, the fire and rescue crews left the scene, after the Leicestershire Fire Brigades Union stepped in. The Union stated that the emergency crews were not law enforcement, and expressed solidarity with the Palestinians, while supporting the right to protest. Once the safety of those protesting had been confirmed, the union also poignantly reiterated in its statement, that it was a humanitarian organization. This was a powerful message indeed.
Statements and messages of solidarity like these, go a long way, and remind us of the power of collectivized principled action. Imagine if for example, all port workers refused to be complicit in delivering arms to Israel, and if each and every workers union showed solidarity with the Palestinians. Such actions have a direct impact on a very real situation. And they also embolden others to make similar moves.
As was the case with South Africa, it was mass community action and cultural boycotts that eventually shaped and led the political situation and direction of the country on a road which paved the way for the end of apartheid. It can work against Israeli apartheid too.
Governments and politicians might refuse to take the action needed towards Israel. But people can take that power into their own hands, if they wish to. While Israel operates a colonial system of oppression, acting as it wishes with complete impunity, the Palestinians certainly, need all the help they can get.
Richard Sudan is a journalist, writer and TV reporter working for Press TV.=