It seems that much of the civilised world is outraged by the recent US-financed, Saudi bombing of a school bus in Yemen. While US spokespeople have hemmed and hawed and not condemned this atrocity, few outside of the U.S. have been so hesitant.
How anyone can countenance the bombing of a clearly marked school bus (they are rather unique looking, for a reason), carrying dozens of young children, is beyond my comprehension. Many US politicians have said that they will never apologise for the US regardless of circumstances, and this is a clear example of that philosophy.
Surprisingly, the corporate-owned press has broadcast this atrocity widely, even showing a video of the children, taken by one of the victims about an hour before the slaughter. Viewers see young boys, ages 6 – 11, laughing, chatting, and showing great excitement about the field trip they were on. Moments later, all that remained was a mangled bus, forty dead children, and several more, bloody, maimed, writhing and screaming in pain. Scenes of grief-stricken parents soon followed.
It is vitally important that people around the world, but especially in the violent and war-mongering and war-waging United States, see these scenes. It is crucial that they know how their tax dollars are being spent. However, if one were to only consider what one sees on the ‘mainstream’ press, one might think that this was an anomaly, a horrible mistake or miscalculation, one that, although inexcusable, was never intended.
One, however, would be mistaken. While the world mourns for the innocent young victims of the Yemeni bus massacre, for the US this is business as usual. While this avoidable tragedy is making international headlines, there was hardly a peep from the US media when Israel, in 2014, massacred over 500 children, including infants, in Gaza, using US-provided bombs. There was hardly a mention when, in a lull in that genocidal attack, four young boys playing on a beach were shot and killed by Israeli soldiers. Palestinian children who are intentionally hit and run over by autos driven by settlers living illegally on Palestinian land are never discussed; no one ever demands to know what US spokespeople have to say about these murders.
Let’s look at a few such situations in a bit more detail. In May of 2014, Nadeem Nawara, 17, and Mohammad Salameh, 16, were both shot in the chest while walking, unarmed, near Israeli soldiers. They both died from their wounds. Both of them were between 200 and 250 metres (from the soldiers. Both boys were shot with live ammunition. Neither was throwing stones, which, for Palestinians, can be a capital offence, since under Israel regulations, live rounds can be used if stone-throwers pose an imminent threat to life.
Take some time to consider how someone throwing a stone at a heavily armed and armoured soldier can “pose an imminent threat” to his or her life. Additionally, these two murders were captured on video, by the security camera on a nearby store. While the death toll was certainly less than that of the Yemeni school bus attack, is this not worth some discussion? Should not US officials question their blank-cheaque financing of everything Israel does, based on this? Are not these two cold-blooded murders at least worth some attention?
Furthermore eight-year-old Aseel Abu Oun was run over in a car driven by a settler living illegally on Palestinian land. She and a friend were leaving a supermarket when the attack occurred. After a brief investigation, Israeli police declared that it was simply a road accident: case closed. The family requested an independent investigation by a non-biased individual or group, but that request, of course, was denied. Israel, the US assures us, is capable of performing its own, completely unbiased, totally fair investigations into such matters, which result in exonerating whatever Israeli is accused at least 99% of the time.
During the summer of 2014, the Israeli government decided to perform one of its periodic ‘mowing of the lawn’ exercises in Gaza. This genocidal bombardment targeted school, hospitals, mosques, United Nations refugee centers, and residential neighborhoods. Targeting any of these is a violation of international law. Over 2,000 people were killed, about a quarter of them children. This was all done with US-provided weapons, and US approval. Might not the ‘free press’ consider this worth covering? In what other possible situation on the planet would the slaughter of over 500 children, as young as infancy, be all but ignored? US officials repeat the worn out and invalid mantra that ‘Israel has a right to defend itself’. The number of people who believe this stupidity is constantly diminishing; it seems almost to be reserved for US elected officials. As Palestinian activist Hanan Ashrawi has said: “The Palestinians are the only people on earth required to guarantee the security of the occupier, while Israel is the only country that demands protection from its victims.” The concept of ‘defending oneself from one’s victim’ is truly bizarre.
And so there we are. Saudis who bomb school buses with US financial and moral support can be questioned; Israelis who bomb schools, hospitals and homes are merely ‘defending’ themselves. We have learned from government officials and the media that Yemeni children dying in a school-bus bombing, and Syrian children who drown fleeing US-supported terrorism in their country, are worthy of our sympathy and concern. Conversely, Palestinian children killed when sleeping in their own home or a United Nations refugee center, and Rohingya children violently driven from their homes, often dying in the process, or of starvation, are not. This is the US today; the government, and the corporate-owned media which happily does its bidding, work hand in hand for the good of the rich and the powerful.