Did you know an international conference was held in France on November 9 under the title ‘International Humanitarian Conference for Gaza’s Civilian Population’?
According to the French foreign ministry website, the conference “involved states, main donors, international organizations and NGOs active in Gaza” to promote “compliance with international humanitarian law, the protection of civilians and humanitarian staff, and the strengthening of humanitarian access.”
If you did not know, we do not blame you. The conference, after all, was meant to distract from the Israeli genocide in Gaza by giving the impression that Western governments still have the political power to control or, at least, influence the future of Gaza.
As French President Emmanuel Macron was preaching about international and humanitarian laws, we were busy looking elsewhere.
Backed by unhinged US administration and corporate media since October 7, Israel has also wanted us to look their way.
To ensure our gaze remained fixated on Tel Aviv’s political priorities, they fabricated an unprecedented amount of lies; those lies, with time, proved to be part of a centralized Israeli propaganda campaign aimed at lessening the impact of Israel’s military defeat on the collective Israeli psyche.
Additionally, Israel’s hasbara masters wanted to keep feeding already biased Western media with all the needed negative content to wage a defamation war against Palestinians, Gaza and its Resistance.
Not only did Israeli hasbara backfire, but it also showed how low Israel is willing to sink to distract from its genocide in Gaza. By feeding into an existing racist narrative in mainstream media about the supposed savagery and the barbarity of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, Israel wanted to pose as the protector of Western civilization and democracy.
This false construct, with time, began falling apart and again, we looked elsewhere in our search for answers. We looked at Gaza itself, at the atrocities committed by Israel at every hospital, school and neighborhood.
We looked at the lifeless bodies of hundreds, in fact thousands, of Palestinian children, women and civilians, strewn in every street corner, under rubble, even on their hospital beds.
We looked at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, Al-Fakhoura School and Nuseirat Refugee camp, Al-Fallujah, Jabaliya, Khan Yunis and every inch of Gaza that has been bombed, at times repeatedly, since October 7.
The Palestinians themselves were pointing us to where we should be looking – in fact, to where we should have always been looking.
Relentlessly and with unweakened resolve, ordinary people, often weeping, would point at mass graves, at their dead children in their arms, at mutilated bodies of children in hospital morgues, in parking lots, in the streets. They would say, “Look,” “Look what Israel is doing to us,” “Look what the Nazis have done to our children”, and so on.
The word ‘look’ here is critical. When they say ‘look,’ they mean look, understand, help, do something, anything.
But Palestinian Resistance on the ground, the only actual defenders of those civilians, however uncomfortable this realization makes some of us feel, was also telling us to look, and we did.
In this case, they did not announce ‘Look’ or ‘Shufu’ out loud. Instead, they used a small, red triangle, the symbolism of which is likely to influence a generation of Palestinians and millions of youth around the world.
Israel's biggest fear pic.twitter.com/Nafk0d5M7h
— ONE (@One_Dawah) November 8, 2023
This small, red triangle started as a functional tool in well-produced videos released by the Al-Qassam Brigades, urging us to focus on a specific point in the videos documenting their daily operations against invading Israeli forces.
A small, red triangle would finally appear within this obvious context amid massive ruins, half-standing buildings, dust and smoke. To understand the function of this triangle, we need to understand the story behind it, thus explaining, without a single word, why Palestinians resist.
The equation then becomes simple to understand: Israeli destruction, red triangle, explosion – followed by triumphant shouts of ‘God is great,’ ‘Palestine will be free,’ and ‘The invaders will be defeated.’
With time, the functionality of the red triangle was transformed into even more significant meaning and more profound symbolism.
As millions of people continued to protest Israeli atrocities in Gaza, many carried banners and flags of the Red Triangle. For them, this symbol represented more than Palestinian Resistance in Gaza and the need for action everywhere else.
Some suggested that the symbolism of the red triangle was inspired by the red triangle of the Palestinian flag, thus arguing that that specific symbol was chosen to purposely delineate a more significant national symbol.
You may have seen this red triangle facing downwards on your feed recently, posted by pro-Palestinian accounts. What does it mean?
The red triangle first appeared in the videos published by the Al-Qassam Brigades to identify enemy targets. The videos, edited with flashy graphics… pic.twitter.com/OderWLuIMk
— red. (@redstreamnet) November 15, 2023
In truth, the origins of the small, red triangle do not matter. Maybe it was intended to represent something, or it was simply a technical choice made by a young Palestinian tech-savvy fighter to let us know where we needed to look.
What truly matters, however, are the deeper meanings of all of this.
For years – in fact, decades – Palestinians have been urging us to look at their lives under Israeli occupation and apartheid, at the destruction of their homes and orchards, confiscated or stolen by the Israeli military and illegal Jewish settlers, at the fate of their prisoners, thousands of them, languishing in Israeli prisons, simply for resisting the Israeli military occupation; at the Israeli siege on Gaza, and that perpetual episode of suffering and pain, which deprived over two million people of their most basic rights; and at so much more.
Unfortunately, and for whatever reason, many of us did not look.
Thanks to the courage of the Palestinians themselves and to the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza, we are finally looking, and we are looking precisely where Palestinians want us to look.
US President Joe Biden could now say whatever he wants in defense of Israel; Macron could hold ten more conferences and pretend to speak on behalf of the international community regarding the Gaza holocaust; and Israel could fabricate a million more lies. But we refuse to look at any of them. We refuse to engage with any of them. Their words, actions or inaction are no longer a priority for us.
Only the Palestinian political discourse matters. Only Palestinian freedom is a priority. Only the Palestinian Resistance can push back the Israeli invaders. In short, the priorities of the oppressed, not the oppressor, should matter to all of us.
Indeed, it is time for the Palestinian voice to reclaim its centrality in the story of oppression and Resistance. So, from now on, please look, listen and act in whichever capacity possible. And if you ever struggle to decipher the difference between Palestinian priorities and all others, look for that small, red triangle. It will guide you.
Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is ‘Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out.’ His other books include ‘My Father Was a Freedom Fighter’ and ‘The Last Earth’. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net