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Echoes of Protest: The Unyielding Voices

Updated: Apr 17

The events of Oct. 7 and 23, 2023, marked a devastating turn in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, unleashing a wave of violence and destruction with far-reaching consequences. Among the voices emerging from this tragedy are those of Aaron Bushnell, a young airman, and Dr. Thaer Ahmad, a Palestinian doctor, each offering unique perspectives on the enduring turmoil. On Oct. 7, 2023, Palestine launched an unexpected attack on Israel, triggering a chain of events that culminated in Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip on Oct. 23, 2023. This escalation of violence resulted in significant casualties, injuries and the displacement of thousands of individuals. At least 33,091 Palestinians have been killed and 75,750 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The death toll in Israel from Hamas’s October 7 attack stands at 1,139, with dozens still held captive.

Countries' Resilience and Support 

Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro’s vocal denunciation of Israel since the onset of the conflict. Despite Colombia and Israel's longstanding commercial and military partnership, tensions have escalated under President Petro's administration, particularly in light of Israel's actions in Gaza. President Petro's long-standing support for the Palestinian cause has further strained relations between Colombia and Israel. In recent developments, President Petro threatened to sever all ties with Israel unless it adhered to the UN Security Council resolution mandating an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Additionally, he urged other nations to halt all military purchases from Israel, a move that defied the advice of Colombia's highest military commanders.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his concern about the “Abhorrent acts of terror” and the unconditional release of hostages. The Secretary-General emphasizes the urgent need for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, full adherence to international humanitarian law and the protection of vital infrastructures such as hospitals, UN facilities, shelters and schools. He stresses the importance of unhindered, safe and consistent access to deliver and distribute supplies, including fuel, on a larger scale and more frequently. Additionally, he urges support for the $1.2 billion humanitarian appeal recently launched by the United Nations to assist the people of Gaza. 

Voices of Tragedy 

On Feb. 26, the individual was identified as 25-year-old Aaron Bushnell, a member of the US Air Force serving at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland in Texas. Dressed in military fatigues, Bushnell filmed as he set himself on fire. His anguished cries of  “Free Palestine” and "I will no longer be complicit in genocide" echoed through the air before collapsing to the ground. His tragic act serves as a stark reminder of the human toll of the conflict. 

Voices of Resilience:

Dr. Thaer Ahmad, a Palestinian American doctor affiliated with MedGlobal, walked out of a meeting with President Joe Biden, expressing the profound grief and anguish felt by his community in the wake of the conflict. Dr. Ahmad felt as if his plea and courage were deemed insignificant.  His decision to speak out about what he witnessed as he was in Gaza, he told President Biden, “I said it was disappointing I’m the only Palestinian here, and out of respect for my community, I’m going to leave.”

Countries worldwide are witnessing a groundswell of protest and activism in solidarity with Gaza. People are taking to the streets, raising their voices in active opposition to the injustices inflicted upon the Palestinian population. From bustling city centers to remote communities, the call for justice echoes loud and clear. This global movement signifies a powerful awakening of conscience, demanding an end to the suffering and a commitment to lasting peace in the region. As the momentum grows, so too does the imperative for governments and international organizations to heed the cries of the oppressed and work tirelessly toward a just and equitable resolution to the conflict.

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