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Gaza: Plight, Hamas, and the Burdens of Democracy

From the English version of Asharq Alawsat, an ode to industry in the Gaza Strip.

A 'cemetery' in the neighborhood of al Rimal in Gaza is attracting the attention of motorists and pedestrians alike. Set up last Tuesday in al Katiba Square, this symbolic cemetery is comprised of 'graves' symbolizing hundreds of factories that have been closed down as a result of the economic embargo.

The forty 'graves', which have been adorned with flowers, each have a tombstone that bears the name of the factory and the number of employees who have lost their jobs in the aftermath. The Popular Committee for Resisting the Siege (PCRS) in Gaza is responsible for the creation of this cemetery as a protest against the economic blockade that has been imposed on Gaza following the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006.

But "The Death of Industry," such that it was in 'life,' cannot be properly eulogized without the inseparable context of the "Rebirth of Hamas," an inextricably intertwined primary cause.

Freely and openly elected in a democratic process, actions have consequences and democracy, freedom and liberty all carry with them the heavy burden of individual (voter) responsibility, for there is no 'greater authority' upon which to place the blame for the consequences of aggression.

Democracy, freedom and liberty are not an instant ticket to peace, actions are. Democracy, freedom and liberty are the most reliable vehicles in which a people can assure such actions are taken by the chosen governing bodies. But they are not a guarantor.

Sometimes enough of the people are duped. Sometimes enough of the people choose leadership for actions other than peace. Sometimes there is not much to choose from at the ballot. Sometimes the people simply do not choose a peaceful path.

But their choices always have consequences, in America and in Gaza.

So when one reads Gaza: The Death of Industry, understand it within the context of "Gaza: The Re-Birth of Hamas."