The Magi and Palestinian children

Image: Hurray suhail
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By ADALBERTO SANTANA*

The new Herods devastate the communities of Gaza and their counterinsurgent premise is to expel the people of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank of Greater Palestine

In the popular Latin American imagination, the Magi are emblematic figures of children's dreams, especially in the popular sectors, as they bring the joy of toys in the early hours of January 6th. In some Latin American countries, such as Puerto Rico, this date is the main festival of the year. In others, the Magi look for gifts in the popular market to give immense joy to their children with the toys they long for or with the resources they have to give that taste to the little ones.

The Magi are also, in this popular and religious imagination, the emblematic figures of those characters from the Middle East who traveled on their camels looking for the baby Jesus to a portal in Bethlehem. In other words, at the beginning of our era, there in greater Palestine, where the son of two humble pilgrims was born, who were persecuted by order of the king of Judea, Herod. A character similar to the current Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, who had ordered the execution of children under two years of age to make God's envoy disappear. Today Benjamin Netanyahu does this with his bombings of more than 23 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, 70% of whom are children and women.

According to Gospel of Matthew, these Magi from the East traveled to Bethlehem to pay homage to the son of Mary and the humble carpenter Joseph, to offer him gifts of symbolic wealth: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

This symbolic tradition is rooted in the feeling of Latin American people, especially the humblest, of offering the children of our America gifts that they humbly bring to them every January 6th: Belchior, Gaspar and Baltazar. Characters who, in this popular imagination, travel on their camels from different kingdoms in the Middle East and who, due to the color of their complexion, symbolize three ethnic-cultural groups. Baltasar represents the African communities, Gaspar the Asian ones and Belchior the European ones. They are characters from this cultural diversity that has taken root in the collective imagination of popular Spanish-American sectors.

Palestinian children are currently suffering the worst atrocities of Israeli Zionism. The new Herods devastate the communities of Gaza and their counterinsurgent premise is to expel the people of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank of Greater Palestine. In their strategy, they seek to convert Palestinian children, women and men into the new pilgrims of the 21st century. Countless testimonies attest to the atrocities of Israeli Zionism:

“The Israeli army detained hundreds of Palestinians across the northern Gaza Strip, separating families and forcing the men to strip down to their underwear before loading them into trucks and transporting them to a detention camp located on the beach, where they spent hours – and, in some cases, days – exposed to hunger and cold, according to human rights defenders, family members and some of the released prisoners themselves. Palestinians detained in the devastated town of Beit Lahia, the urban refugee camp of Jabaliya and nearby Gaza City said they were tied up, blindfolded and crammed into the backs of trucks. Some said they were transported practically naked and with little water to the detention camp, located in an unknown location” (The financial, 17/Dec./23).

The best hope is that, in the harsh reality of our time, the Magi will arrive on January 6, 2024 and bring the Palestinian people the desired peace in the face of the atrocities generated by the war of Israeli Zionism. May the Palestinians not become the new pilgrims who, like Mary and Joseph, will have to flee to Egypt to escape the new Herods who today embody Benjamin Netanyahu. Without a doubt, this would be the best gift from the Magi who cry out, in different parts of the world, to the people who oppose the war of extermination and the genocide that is being sown in Gaza with the blood of the Palestinian people.

*Adalberto Santana He is a professor of the International Relations course at the Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM). Author, among other books, of Drug trafficking in Latin America (XXI century).

Translation: Fernando Lima das Neves.


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