The word “holocaust” is derived from the Greek “holos,” which means “whole,” and “Kaustos,” which means “burnt.” It has rightly entered every language to remind all nations of the horror that the Jews suffered and to make the world learn an extremely important lesson. It is also a reminder of how the big powers of the time allowed this shameful large-scale massacre to take place over years.
But would there be much point in remembering history if people do not learn from it? The scale of the irony and terrifying nature of the human failure to learn from the holocaust only starts to become clear when we remember that descendants of the victims of the holocaust have been launching a brutal war on another, much weaker people.
Israel has not openly advocated a policy of exterminating the Palestinians, but its actions are not falling short of taking the Palestinians down that route if they insist on staying on their occupied land or demand the return of the land that has already gone. In the meatime, the living conditions of the resisting Palestinians are horrific.
But there is an even more evil aspect to the burning of Gaza. While the big powers can claim to have been asleep when the Jews were being gassed, today’s connected world and global communication systems can give them no such excuse. Everyone can follow in real time the gruesome details of the ongoing massacre. The ease and speed with which facts become available today is also the reason why numerous people around the round, including some politicians in the West, have come out condemning what Israel and its supporters are doing.
But that knowledge of what is happening is still not the worst side of the role of the big powers and their callous politicians, because they are not merely turning a blind eye to Israel’s actions in Gaza. They are coming out publicly justifying and supporting the savagery of Israel’s action. The USA, whose Christian Zionist policymakers decide what the world should be like and effectively who should live or die and how, has even announced that it is replenishing Israel’s stock of ammunition, i.e. the very ammunition that Israel has been using to burn Gaza and its children, women, and elderly. As the Palestinian politician and scholar Hanan Ashrawi most eloquently put it in a speech in London in 2003: “We are the only people on Earth asked to guarantee the security of our occupier … while Israel is the only country that calls for defense from its victims.” This is why the shame of the world is even bigger in the case of the “Gazacaust” than it was at the time of the holocaust.
What is happening today in Gaza is only a continuation of what has been taking place for many decades, although the Israeli brutality and its support in the West seem to go to a new low with every new assault. One very painful yet important fact that this ongoing extreme violation of the human rights of the Palestinians has highlighted is that no lessons have been learned from the holocaust. If what has been happening in Gaza is not acknowledged as a “Gazacaust” then there is no hope for the world to learn from the holocaust. I have noticed some people have started using the term “Gazacaust.” In my view, until “Gazacaust” becomes as established a cross-language word as “holocaust,” the world cannot claim to have learned anything from the massacre of the Jewish people early in the last century. This is why I think those who are against the horror of the holocaust and any deliberate murder and torture of any people by another should advocate the use of the term “Gazacaust.”
As happened with the holocaust, many of those who supported the “Gazacaust” will come out in the future, cowardly and expediently, to deny their roles. They will try to distance themselves from the bloodshed, disown things they said or did, and find excuses for their inaction. But the world cannot wait until this cycle of pathetic behaviour repeats itself. It has to accept today that “Gazacaust” is now the name of the new shame of the world — a world that stubbornly refuses to learn.