image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

New World Campaign Needed to Bring Justice to the Long-Suffering People of the Middle-East

Last words from Lord Bertrand Russell (1872 &ndash 1970):

For over 20 years []]in 1970] Israel has expanded by force of arms. After every stage in this expansion Israel has appealed to reason and has suggested negotiations. This is the traditional role of the imperial power, because it wishes to consolidate with the least difficulty what it has already taken by violence. Every new conquest becomes the new basis of the proposed negotiation from strength, which ignores the injustice of the previous aggression.

Daily, the world is watching the massive and indiscriminate bombing of Gaza, the most densely populated area in the world. The loss of innocent civilian lives in all age groups, especially women and children, and destruction of homes to hundreds of thousands, are on a mind-boggling scale. Even the sick in hospitals and those in refugee camps are not spared. Global and regional powers and institutions have failed to stop this collective punishment of a people for the crimes of a few.

In his last political statement read out at the International Conference of Parliamentarians in Cairo in February 1970, Lord Russell, the renowned British scholar, condemned the Israeli aggression in the Middle East. He called for Israeli withdrawal from the Israeli-occupied territories. The statement was read the day after his death.

Repeatedly, human history has shown that brutal force and heavy aerial bombardments do not win wars. Vietnam and Afghanistan come to mind readily when occupying super powers have been defeated by resistance movements supported by the people. Overwhelming force and indiscriminate killing of civilians, excused euphemistically as collateral damage, by an occupying power, breed generations of freedom fighters. Or, worse, next generations just seeking revenge. The latter are the sort of Hamas terrorists we saw in action on 7 October this year. However, as pointed out by the UN Director General and others, their actions should not be seen in isolation.

In response to Hamas terrorism, Israel has declared war against own occupied territory! This is not war but use of brutal force against civilians no matter what the excuse. Eventually, Israel is likely to be answerable before the International Court of Justice.

What next? Going by past history of the area, it is unlikely that even Israel knows the answer to that question. By killing tens of thousands of Palestinian, the Israelis have sowed the seeds of a never-ending conflict which they cannot win. These are the sort of pointers Lord Russell has given in his last statement.

Sikh history confirms the above line of reasoning when we look at the reign of terror of Mir Mannu, the governor of Punjab (1748-53). He was even more determined to wipe out the entire Sikh population than his predecessors: Abdul Samad Khan (1713 - 26), Zakariya Khan (1726 - 45) and Yahiya Khan (1745 - 47). His atrocities recorded in Sikh Ardaas (supplication) antagonized the whole population. The Sikh resolve and numbers increased as thousands converted to the Sikh cause. Thus, the popular saying of the time: Mannu is our sickle, We the fodder for him to mow. The more he cuts, the more we grow. (Manu saadi daatri,asi manu de soye. Jon jeon Manu wadh-da, asi doon swaaye hoye.)

Let the mighty nations bent on wiping out any minority community heed the popular response: They tried to bury us, they did not know we were seeds!

Gurmukh Singh OBE

Principal Civil Servant retd (UK)