During the past month of demonstrations along the border between Gaza and Israel, at least 17 Palestinians have suffered gunshot wounds that ultimately cost them their legs, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.
Lest it’s lost on anyone the purpose of warfare is not to destroy enemy combatants but to shatter their village square. Disablement is a strategy, rape is a policy, affecting civilian casualties, all are matters of policy.
Disablement isn’t an unfortunate side effect of protests in Gaza as the Israeli Defense Force’s argument has it. Disabling civilians is overtly designed to shatter not just legs but the human will to freedom and dignity. What is the best semiotic for imprisonment and despair? Disability of course. Disability as a practice of war is criminal. It doesn’t matter who is producing the disablement. Disabling your enemy is an act of terror.
Terrorism is defined in Title 22 Chapter 38 U.S. Code § 2656f as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.”
Nations that paralyze their enemies should be forced to pay for their health care.
Think how quickly that would put a stop to war.
Yeah. That’s what I think.
Two days ago I took an Uber ride. My driver was from Iraq. He told me that his wife has a master’s degree, he has a master’s, his children are in college in the US.
I told him how angry and ashamed I am that the United States has killed one million civilians in his land.
He got out of the car and we hugged. We stood there, uneasily on the street, my guide dog looking on. Who provides guide dogs to Iraqi children? No one.
ABOUT: Stephen Kuusisto is the author of the memoirs Have Dog, Will Travel; Planet of the Blind (a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year”); and Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and of the poetry collections Only Bread, Only Light and Letters to Borges. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a Fulbright Scholar, he has taught at the University of Iowa, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Ohio State University. He currently teaches at Syracuse University where he holds a University Professorship in Disability Studies. He is a frequent speaker in the US and abroad. His website is StephenKuusisto.com.
(Photo picturing the cover of Stephen Kuusisto’s new memoir “Have Dog, Will Travel” along with his former guide dogs Nira (top) and Corky, bottom.) Bottom photo by Marion Ettlinger