Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Pictures as Evidence of War Crimes
A Simple Child's Picture, what could it possibly tell us about the war? These pictures were all drawn by a younger age group than previous posts: about grade 6 (11 Years old), and come from Islamic relief, who work in the most stressed areas of Gaza.
In this image we see a large battle being fought by tanks and planes in a very densely populated area, with Tall Flats. This area can be identified near Zeitoun. The picture is accurately drawn, and shows a helicopter dropping white phosphorus over the tall flats. It also shows a bulldozer demolishing trees, important because these Bulldozers are D9s made by Caterpillar in the UK.
In this very detailed drawing, the Tank Commander's goggles can be seen, as can the ringlets of hair hanging down from under his helmet: his is an Orthodox Jew. Other well observed details are the water tank on the top of the block of flats, and the bright sun. The event took place in bright sunlight - many of the pictures have a bright sun in them, an odd detail if you think about it. The daylight means that the tank commander cannot be mistaken when he shoots the man in camouflage: a soldier, but he has also shot the woman in the stomach. Overhead, a helicopter drops white phosphorus.
Here the tanks are shown flattening trees, but the tank has here also shot a woman's head off. A boy has fallen off his bike. The tall flats have moved almost off the picture, and the Mosque is centre stage
This is the same scene, with the Mosque in the background, the boy fallen off his bike with blood making it clear that he has been injured, and a woman having her head blown off by a tank. Other people are in pieces too.
In this very complicated drawing the bright sun is drawn with a frown. A tank attacks some buildings in which a masked fighter is hiding, and other resistance troops can be seen centre front. A UN truck, right brings aid, some of it labelled UNICEF. At the top right a boat is shelling the area, while helicopters also fire rockets or missiles. One is aimed at a Mosque in which people can be seen huddled together. In the left foreground people have been lined up against a wall. They have their heads covered with bags or hoods and they have their hands in the air, but at least one of them has been shot while another lies dead on the floor. I spoke to several people who told me that the Israelis took people out of their houses and shot them in cold blood.
The same battle for the tall flats, with the Mosque damaged and a collapsed building with people trapped under it still being bombed. Once again bodies are being shown with severed limbs, and a new atrocity, an ambulance is targeted by gun fire from a helicopter, while in the background another explodes.
Reduced to essentials: A helicopter bombs a block of flats with a missile and with white phosphorus, dead lie on the ground with body parts severed, and another helicopter targets an ambulance with a missile.
The internal consistency of these pictures should be enough to convince us that they are telling the truth, and more like this must prove beyond doubt that Israeli soldiers deliberately targeted civilians, and used white phosphorus on civilian targets deliberately. Is it any wonder that Israel will not allow these pictures out, especially now that the International Criminal Court has allowed Children's paintings as evidence of war crimes? Even more important is that the 12 year old children who painted these images witnessed them first hand. They must have been terrified, and the images will stay with them for a long time. All very well having an intellectual discussion about it, but to see all those dismembered bodies, and then to have the world turn its back on you, and not have a word to say against Israel even when it stops anyone from sharing the horror with you so your only solace is others similarly affected and just as spitting angry. Does Israel really believe that its actions will turn people away from armed resistance? A Donkey can see that the population is becoming more radicalised. But worse than this, is the damage the unrequited anger is doing to those children who do not want to vent it through arms and will turn the resentment inward, and even though the United Nations Schools department has appointed 172 School socio-psychological Counsellors since the war, the UNRWA Head of Education, Mahmoud Himdiat says that it is far from enough, and the effects will not even begin to show until the shock has worn off in several months time.
Palestine as this artist wishes it was, or else as it was, below. Even the trees are smiling!