“In Our Thousands and in Our Millions:” the Importance of Acknowledging Genocide

Our individual core beliefs often serve as guiding principles that define our moral compass, transcending religious or cultural affiliations. Regardless of our backgrounds, certain values should be non-negotiable — values that compel us to break the silence and challenge ignorance, especially in the face of genocide.

The violence in Palestine has been exacerbated following the October 7th event; more than 14,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed so far, out of which at least 6,000 are children. Israel has actively targeted hospitals in the aftermath of Oct. 7, making these attacks a recurring motif in the conflict — 21 out of Gaza’s 35 hospitals, including the Strip’s only cancer center, now lie completely out of service. Others have suffered damage and face shortages of crucial medicines and essential supplies. The largest offensive was at Al-Shifa Hospital on Nov. 20 when over 100 injured patients were forced to flee, including 39 critical premature babies – eight of whom died at the facility. Furthermore, 50% of all of Gaza’s infrastructure has been destroyed.

The violence by Israel has not been limited to Gaza but extends also to the West Bank. Since Oct. 7, Israeli security forces have killed 206 Palestinians, with increased attacks by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, a region where there is no Hamas. While the genocide unfolding in Gaza cannot be compared to what has happened in the West Bank, it brings to light the Israeli government’s real intention: not self-defense against Hamas but ethnically cleansing the indigenous population in Palestine.

Remaining silent during a genocide, as it unfolds in Palestine, is a choice that goes beyond mere indifference; it becomes an act of complicity. It is disheartening to witness the reluctance of some to speak out, choosing instead to hide behind the shield of complexity. The truth is, the complexity lies not in the act of speaking up against injustice but in the web of excuses woven to justify silence.

Genocide often thrives in an atmosphere of ignorance, where misinformation and prejudice lay the groundwork for the dehumanization of entire communities. From the Rwandan genocide, where radio broadcasts fueled ethnic hatred, to the more recent atrocities in Myanmar against the Rohingya, ignorance has been a powerful accomplice to mass violence.

For those questioning the impact of a single post, it plays a crucial role in countering the propaganda and misinformation spread by Israel. They lied about Hamas beheading 40 babies and their involvement in bombing hospitals. There were no 40 beheaded babies, and at least eight hospitals were bombed, risking the lives of 39 premature Palestinian babies, eight of whom are dead. When public pressure builds and post-by-post support increases, mainstream media becomes more compelled to address the facts. It underscores the importance of independent reporting and the role of social media in challenging misinformation. 

The high level of censorship in our mainstream media proves why social media engagement through grassroots movements is necessary and why you and I posting on an individual level matters. In a recent report, Jeremy Diamond, a White House correspondent, outlined how journalists embedded within the IDF in Gaza operate under the observation of Israeli commanders on the condition that outlets have to submit all materials and footage to the Israeli military for review before publication. Given this, it forces the media to take on the bias and unwillingly censor themselves and calls into question the “objectivity” and possible reliability of the footage. Palestinian journalists, who could potentially address the information gap resulting from an exclusive reliance on footage supervised by the IDF, are themselves being targeted by Israeli government airstrikes, with over 40 Palestinian journalists killed since Oct. 7.

Regardless of religion, ethnic and cultural background, these alarming statistics should be a call to confront reality and break one’s silence.

Genocide is not a relic of the past; it continues to scar our present. It scars us even though we are not experiencing it. There is just something about seeing people who look like you and sound like you being killed for just wanting freedom; a right we all deserve.

Some may assume that my stance is rooted solely in my identity as a Muslim. However, the reality is more profound. One does not need to adhere to a particular faith to recognize the blatant human rights violations occurring in Gaza.

It transcends religious and cultural boundaries.

Thousands of Jewish individuals are joining forces through the Jewish Voice for Peace, alongside Arabs and Muslims who are uniting, as well as diverse black and brown communities spanning various faiths and those with no religious affiliation. Their common cause: Palestinian Liberation. There is no one religion or entity uniting them. However, what is uniting them is deep-seated resentment to colonialism, imperialism and racism.

For me, it is not about being Muslim; it is about being human. I don’t have to be Muslim to see what’s happening in Gaza. I don’t have to be Muslim to understand that carpet bombing an entire city as a form of collective punishment for something they did not do is wrong. Neither do I need to be Muslim to take a stand when I see an unarmed, innocent child being bombed while seeking shelter in a refugee camp or hospital, targeted by an army equipped with immensely advanced weapons and fueled by hatred.

My upbringing as a Muslim did contribute to my perspective, but not in the way some may assume. I was never taught to harbor hatred towards Jewish individuals, Christians or anyone based on their beliefs. Instead, my lessons emphasized the interconnectedness of humanity and the importance of rejecting animosity towards those who differ in their beliefs. I was taught to harbor disdain only for those who lack humanity and empathy.

Now, I see and fear what we as a human race have made of humanity.

We can show pain and grief for the 1,200 Israeli lives lost on Oct. 7, but we cannot synonymously see the pain, grief or, let alone, begin to acknowledge the over 14,000 innocent Palestinian lives that have been taken.

We can unequivocally condemn Hamas for what they did but refuse to hold Israel accountable for what it is doing.

We can criticize Arab and Muslim governments for their human rights violations without anti-Arab or anti-Muslim sentiment but are quick to equate criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism.

We can condemn Putin for bombing hospitals and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine but refuse to condemn Netanyahu and the Israeli government for shamelessly justifying bombing hospitals, killing children and cutting off food and basic necessities.

We can recognize the Bucha massacres in Ukraine but refuse to recognize the genocide in Gaza.

The unfortunate double standard is sadly predictable. Lives in the Middle East and those of the Muslim community have consistently been undervalued and dehumanized in human history, especially in the West —- perhaps our minds are still colonized even if our lands are no longer under occupation. What is happening in Palestine is not just a Palestinian issue, it is an issue for all of humanity to learn from. 

While people across the world chant, “Free Palestine,” it actually has been Palestine freeing us. Palestine is freeing us from cowardice, from fear, from shame, from individualism and for me, from people who choose to remain silent or neutral, refusing to even call for a ceasefire. 

Not everyone in the Palestinian solidarity movement is Palestinian, but we are also Palestinian in every way. 

“In our thousands in our millions, 

We are all Palestinians.” 

The views expressed in opinion pieces do not represent the views of Glimpse from the Globe or its editorial team.


Zain Khan

Mohammed Zain Shafi Khan (he/him) is a Junior studying International Relations and Journalism. He interned at Freedom Firm, a non-profit that works on rescue and restoration operations for minors sold into prostitution. Currently, he is a research intern for the LA county 5th district supervisor’s office where him and his team find facilities that can house the mentally ill population of the soon to be demolished Mens Central Jail. I he is passionate about human rights especially in conflict ridden countries/regions such as Syria, Afghanistan, South America and the Middle East. He closely follow US politics and its relations with other countries. In his free time, he loves to cook, dance, try new foods, spend time with friends, family and binge watch tv series.