By Finbar Rock

My thanks to Lily Brogan for painting our window watermelons and quote from the Palestinian poet Ghassan Kanafani. At Easter time it’s fitting that our thoughts are with the Holy Lands.

Ten years ago I was harangued in our store by an angry American Christian minister. He threatened that both he and his flock would stop shopping with us. The reason for his ire …that we withdrew Israeli products from our shelves as the World was introduced to a new phrase, “disproportionate response”.

That was 2014, it was shocking to watch what was happening then but these last 5 months the situation in Gaza has become beyond words and in truth we should have made some kind of gesture a long time ago.

Director Jonathan Glazer of the film Zone of Interest, raised an embarrassingly lone voice of protest at this year’s Oscars, trembling with both nerves and anger as he spoke. Rightly so as his film was about Rudolf and Hedwig Hoss, the Auschwitz commandant, his wife and their 5 children who pursued their petty ambitions whilst ignoring the horrors around them. Incredibly Hoss disputed the charges at his war crimes trial, that he was responsible for 3.5 million deaths. He protested in his defence that he was only responsible for 2.5 million and that the other million had died from starvation and disease! Imagine, such self-delusion. The film was not just a historical piece but a questioning for us all

Hannah Arendt described this condition as “the banality of evil” and Naomi Klein of “no logo” fame described it as “Ambient Genocide”. Glazer’s anger was about our moral complacency, how we are complicit in our silence, and how we can choose to ignore what’s taking place right before our very eyes.

Just over a month ago, on Feb 25th, Aaron Bushnell, a 25-year-old US airforce serviceman took his life in protest at the situation in Gaza. Outside the Israeli embassy in Washington DC, he died by self-immolation. Why so little coverage in the media?

He left some very poignant and challenging words…

Many of us like to ask ourselves,
“What would I do if I was alive during Slavery?
Or the Jim Crow South?
Or Apartheid?
What would I do if my country was committing genocide?”
The answer is, you’re doing it.
Right now.