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EIR Daily News • Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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The Lead

The Glass Half Full, or How To Conquer Cynicism

by David Shavin (EIRNS) — Mar. 20, 2024

March 19, 2024 (EIRNS)—To stay alive, the world may have to deal with a vicious strain of cynicism.

Yesterday, the UN’s latest update detailed the famine, starvation and deaths in Gaza. There is a seeming inability of the hearts and minds of Western audiences and leaders to process what happens to 2.3 million souls, when, starting in the second week of October, water, food, electricity, and medicine are shut down for weeks. Months of having 80-90% of the population driven from their homes and living in tent-camps, or in streets, was bound to result in massive infections and diseases.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the first time doesn’t warn of the onset of famine. It reports that northern Gaza is now in a famine; that over 70% of the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza face “catastrophic hunger; and that only an immediate ceasefire, enabling massive deliveries of food aid, stands in the way of imminent death.” They estimate that 450 people per day may die, not from bullets, but a slower, more agonizing death, from malnutrition, disease, and starvation.

Even the frequently obtuse Josep Borrell, foreign policy chief for the EU, managed to read the report correctly (at yesterday’s conference in Brussels on aid for Gaza), stating: “In Gaza we are no longer on the brink of famine. We are in a state of famine.”

As if it were a matter of rescuing starving people in a concentration camp, one rushes in with all the military force, the food and medicine, the medical personnel, etc., required for the job. The standard was articulated by Jeremy Laurence, aide to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk: “Israel, as the occupying power, has the obligation to ensure the provision of food and medical care to the population commensurate with their needs and to facilitate the work of humanitarian organizations to deliver that assistance.”

As South Africa’s Foreign Minister Grace Naledi Pandor explained today to Washington, D.C.: “Provisional measures have been ignored by Israel, we’re seeing mass starvation now, and famine before our very eyes…. I think as humanity [we] need to look at ourselves in horror….” South Africa refused to blink. Curiously, they had the good fortune of having suffered from the tremendous injustice of apartheid and, evidently, of having formed their identity around something necessary for a world with such persistent horrors. There was a steely humanity about Pandor’s refusal to flinch, in the face of ugliness, or even evil.

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