A CALL TO THE COMMUNITY OF CONSCIENCE


Posted on October 15, 2012 by Akashma Online News

By Desmond Tutu

Every so often, the world witness events of such naked brutality that concerned observers must recoil in outrage and demand an end to the madness. We saw this in my own country after the Sharpeville Massacre, a bloodletting that finally awakened the world to the evils of Apartheid. We saw it, too when Chinese tanks turned on young protesters in Tiananmen Square. We have seen it in Northern Ireland, Iran, The Soviet Union, in so many places marked by historical injustices.

In the waning days of 2008, we saw it once again in the Middle East. Israel had launched a bloody assault on the Gaza Strip, what its military called Operation Cast Lead, and for three weeks one of the world’s most sophisticated armies pummeled a captive Palestinian population. Here were soldiers firing willy-nilly at fleeing Palestinian civilians. Here were families obliterated in an instant, men forced to be human  shields, farms and factories destroyed. Here, too, were Palestinian militants firing rockets indiscriminately against peaceful Israel towns. Many times on my journeys in the region, I have observed the gangrenous ravages of the conflict. But the Gaza conflict exceeded our worst expectations and offended our deepest understanding of right and wrong.

Those of us who lived through the decades of Apartheid South Africa know the transforming power of truth-telling. The act of seeking, and the saying, the truth can help to right persistent wrongs and can even sow the seeds of reconciliation.
We would have wished that Israel and Hamas might have taken on this vital task, but after years of regrettable silence, the international community has stepped into the breach.

The document at the center of this book, the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, better known as the Goldstone Report, is an historic attempt at seeking and then speaking the truth. It takes on one of today’s most difficult conflicts and does not blink but delves deep beneath the rubble of the three-week war to find evidence of human rights abuses. No side escapes the report’s censure. But the documented evidence of Of Israeli military misconduct-of reckless, perhaps even deliberate, destruction- of life and property-creates a portrait of stunning aggression. For these acts of aggression, the report accuses Israel of likely war crimes against humanity, and calls on it to look deep into the actions of its military.

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