Grieving The Deaths of Palestinians

At Vanity Fair, Anna Lekas Miller has written a powerful piece about the world community's refusal to acknowledge and mourn the deaths of Palestinians. When three Israeli teenagers went missing in early June, violence against Palestinians exploded around Israel and continues unabated now that the teens have been found dead. While thousands commemorate the lives of the Israeli teens, including President Obama and other heads of state, the killing of Palestinians barely registers in Western media. We keep perpetuating this lie about the "Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," as if both sides are equal in power. The truth is, Israel continues to occupy, oppress, and kill Palestinians with impunity. Only Israeli lives are counted as human, as "grievable," in the words of Judith Butler. This is not a conflict between two equal forces, this is a slaughter, an ongoing human rights violation that the world stands by and watches. Miller's piece is so important because it reminds us that Palestinians are suffering and grieving and losing people they love because of state-sanctioned violence and genocidal policies.

On social media, the overwhelming grief and sorrow for Eyal, Gilad and Naftali coalesced into a hashtag, #EyalGiladNaftali. People from around the world can share their grief and condolences to the families, and many such messages have gone viral. But there is no mainstream viral hashtag for the slain Palestinian youth, no collective expression of grief or sympathy sent to the families. It is even difficult to find their names in the media; while Muhammad and Tariq’s cases are starting to draw international attention, many articles that mention the deaths of other Arabs often merely state that “a Palestinian” was killed. Nameless. A number, to be filed away.
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