War has a habit of reducing human lives to numbers — 27,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza. People see the number, hear the number, frown, and carry on.
Does a number of this magnitude not warrant a moment of reflection? It equates to almost 1.2% of Gaza’s population. The same percentage would equate to 159,000 Israelis.
These numbers represent real people who had their own hopes and dreams. If we fail to recognise the value and sanctity of human life, then we are just numbers.
Watching in silence
To ignore the scale of unfathomable loss in Gaza — with men, women, and children crushed to death under the weight of their own homes or shelters — is unnatural.
Yet, that is what world leaders seem to have done. With the odd exception, politicians around the world have watched the horror in Gaza unfold in near-perfect silence.
They have refused to intervene and justified their inaction with the argument that a ceasefire would reward Hamas for its actions on 7 October.
Yes, they express regret about the deaths of tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians. But the West seems stuck to its “understanding” of Israel’s justifications. A military necessity, they tell themselves — an operational imperative.