Dr Hamad. Time for dialogue
Violent clashes in Gaza
Tough questions: In an article published this week in the Palestinian weekly al-Ayam under the headline, "Let's uproot violence," Hamas spokesman Dr, Ghazi Hamad makes some unconventional statements.
"Are we truly a violent society? Do we suffer from the chronic illness of violence that has stolen our peace of mind and our security? Are we caged in the prison of violence? Have we become people who believe that all our problems can be resolved only through violence: With a bullet, a shell, a blatant leaflet and harsh words," Hamas asks in the article.
In the straightforward column, printed at the height of a difficult internal strife in the Palestinian Authority, Hamad further writes: "Has violence become for us a culture so deeply rooted in our bodies and minds that it is part of us when we sleep and when we are awake? I fear that we have succumbed to violence so much that it has become the omnipotent master everywhere – at the house, in the neighborhood, in the family, in the organization and in university. No place is safe from it."
"Violence has gained control over everything, like a demon takes over a person. It makes him lose his judgment… our festivities have become meaningless unless we fire bullets in the air… also in our funerals the heroes fire hundreds of bullets in the air," he describes.
'Shouldn't we be ashamed of ourselves?'"We shattered the schools with our violence, attacked parliament with our weapons, burnt down the government and waved guns before parliament members and ministers. What are we left with when we use violence against ourselves and against our citizens, whom we are supposed to protect? Shouldn't we be ashamed of ourselves?" Hamad adds.
Stating that over 175 Palestinians were killed since last January by Palestinian fire, and hundreds more were injured and crippled, Hamad notes: "Had we controlled our brain – we could have spared plenty of blood, tears, sorrow and pain."
And he concludes: "Violence is culture, education and behavior, not just a factional display of force. This is why handling it should not be assigned to a governmental ministry… Do we all bear the responsibility? Yes! Do we all share this enormous guilt? Yes! Are we able to remove violence from our dictionary and replace it with the language of dialogue? Yes!"
"We all want to see weapons in the hands of security guards, and not in the streets, we all want our celebrations, our funerals and our rallies to go by without casualties… we want to recover from this illness – the cancer – that has corrupted our minds, paralyzed our hearts and blinded us. We want to see the moment of peace, friendship, and the moment when little children do not tremble to the sound of gunshots," he writes.