The girl and her bird in Gaza

Image: Alfo Medeiros


The genocide, the murderous violence, carried out by the extreme right in power in Israel, and fanned by the European Union and the United States, seems to have no end  

The Palestinian girl wanders around Gaza looking for somewhere safe. She carries her pet bird in its cage. “With him I feel safer”, she says, “If I live, he lives, if I die, he dies”. The girl and her bird share in solidarity the fate that befalls the Palestinians in Gaza today, the collective punishment for being Palestinians.

Childhood confronting death in Gaza. What point of barbarism can we reach in these times of decadence and civilizational disintegration? The genocide, the murderous violence, carried out by the extreme right in power in Israel, and fanned by the European Union and the United States, seems to have no end. Identity religion, combined with “ultranationalism” formalized by the essentialist and discriminatory doctrine of Zionism in political command in Israel, sanctions criminal violence and death.

In this amalgamation, a primitive background of violence, of hatred and fear combined (one hates what one fears, the designated enemy), resonates. “Theology”, the divine right to the land, serves as a pretext, implicit or explicit, for interested violence. Could this be the secret of monotheism, of religions of divine right, of guilt, of submission, of indisputable law, of absolute authority? Or perhaps the “secular religion” of the state as a kind of “supreme entity” in everyday life, the one that sanctions the deadly irresponsibility of its agents and commands the acquiescence of citizens?

The cruelty exercised in the name of “defending” the identity state appears as fanaticism (always in the name of “self-protection” that ends up defending the indefensible) and at the same time as a cynical calculation to eliminate an entire population without protection and with no way out, allowing territorial conquest, pure and simple material appropriation, and which echoes the “I lebensraum” from not so remote times, doctrine and initiative that victimized European peoples and Jewish minorities in Europe.

Nothing can be learned from history other than, as Hegel said, the knowledge of human inability to learn something from the past and its catastrophes, to learn from its mistakes.

What drives an infantry soldier or an airman to bury homes, coldly and cowardly murder unarmed, defenseless civilians, women, children? The military function degrades into a premeditated and unpunished crime. Or, in this way, it reveals itself as what it is in essence. The barbarity in Palestine of the so-called Western powers, represented in the actions of the state of Israel, is an assault on the humanity of each one of us, an absolute degradation of the minimum moral criteria that allow human coexistence between individuals and diverse human groups, a mockery for all who refuse to submit to the rule of violence as the final reality of the human condition.

This logic of violence forces us to make an “inexorable” choice between being executioners or victims: a logic that we reject as a mere cowardly justification of barbarity and crime.

*Marcelo Guimaraes Lima is an artist, researcher, writer and teacher.


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