Published in The Dark: Selected Writings of Brendan Hughes (2023).
Originally published in The Blanket (2002).
Brendan (The Dark) Hughes
7 April 2002
The problems that exist in the world can’t be solved by the same type of thinking that caused them. Albert Einstein
Yesterday morning my door sounded as if it was about to crash in. The blattering accompanied by shouting through the small letterbox was frantic. It was just as well I had asked a friend to give me a wake up call. I had volunteered to drive the minibus to Dublin at the request of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Committee. And I had almost slept in. But like everything else in these circumstances where the downtrodden are resisting, moral obligation and a sense of solidarity kick in and I always manage to make it and give my support.
A door being battered and hammered always reminds me of British Army raids. I felt relieved that it was just a friend doing the hammering. My thoughts drifted to those in occupied Palestine hearing similar noise followed by the voices of fascist Israeli soldiers in jackboots, then gunfire. In the wake of the visit, a child or another loved one dead. I would make it to Dublin even if I had to walk.
Things in Palestine have got so bad that even the Pope has condemned the Israeli government. But the thought crossed my mind that this was more to do with the fact that with nowhere else to escape the murderous Israeli assault the Palestinians were seeking refuge in churches. Had the Vatican conducted another sordid deal with fascism for which it is renowned—shoot all you want but not if they are on our property?
In prison, I read books about the Warsaw Ghetto. Mila 18 by Leon Uris gripped me because it was a story about resistance against odds that could not be overcome. But the alternative for the Jewish [person] was to let the Nazi fascists march them off to the gas chambers. I admired those young Jewish fighters who went to their deaths fighting rather than pleading with a presumed human decency that simply did not exist. Some children as young as six crawled through the sewers of the ghetto to bring back food to keep their families alive. It went on for a long time. Each day as they began their descent into the sewer they must have realised that it could be their last—and for the majority it was. The Nazis rounded them up and murdered them for feeding their families. Other kids had to lie in secret hiding places from where they could watch helplessly as their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters were herded off to death in the concentration camps.
I was not yet born when all this was taking place. But watching events in Palestine today I can see at first hand what it was like for those brave Jewish people in the Warsaw Ghetto. Innocent people under fascist and racist attack. And yet they resist. When we watch this we know that Hitler never really died but is on the march having donned the mask of those he sought to exterminate. He is writing the hated number on the arms of the Palestinians. What genocide has he planned for the Ramallah Ghetto?
And we know just how easy it can be to inflict such genocide when there are so many prepared to turn a blind eye. Nazi Germany went as far as it did because of blind eyes and cowardly silence. Do not let on you are unaware of what is happening. The spectre of Israeli racism is massacring the Palestinians. Do not give your children cause to condemn you for your indifference. Speak out and demand the end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine now.