There's something about numbers and abstractions that makes us lose our minds.
The town of 'Ayn Karim, founded 2nd millenium BCE. Population 3180, Muslim & Christian. Depopulated by Zionists 18 July 1948.
Everybody says that the Nazis killed six million Jews, but nobody really kills "six million" of anything.
People always die one at a time, each one alone and afraid.
And we talk about 700,000 Palestinians driven or fled from Israel.
But it was really one person, 700,000 times.
Or maybe one family, 100,000 times.
If I said that I kicked my neighbor out of her house and took it for myself,
because I couldn't live a fully Jewish life otherwise,
everyone would agree that I was a criminal, or simply crazy.
And if I and three of my friends took houses away from four other people,
the reaction would be just the same.
Somehow, though, when the numbers get big enough, something changes,
and things we all know are simply wrong become gray areas.
Sophistry and self-justification wash over people's lives, and hopes, and pain.
If I robbed my neighbor of his home,
nobody would need to check the law to decide whether it was wrong.
Nobody would argue about how long she was there, or whether she was "indigenous",
or whether her cousins had room for her at their place.
Nobody would care that some other guy in Germany had his home stolen last year,
and still hadn't gotten it back.
But somehow, when the numbers get big enough,
we forget the simple things we know about decency, and honor, and justice,
and what it means to be a decent person (or a Jew).
And we debase ourselves with arguments like these.
As if a crime committed against a single person
is somehow rendered pure
when one becomes hundreds of thousands.
The words are by Aaron J Levitt (commenting here), via umkahlil.
The photos show some of the Jerusalem-district Palestinian villages depopulated (and in most cases destroyed) in 1947/8, and are taken from Palestine Remembered and All That Remains, ed Walid Khalidi, via Palestine Remembered.