Recent events in the Middle East have made me draw parallels between a work of Dystopian fiction and real life Palestine.
The military occupation of Gaza is easily likened for its similarities to the behaviour of the Capitol’s army in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, The Hunger Games.
LIFE: The value of some; the disregard of others
The CAPITOL (the Israelis)- citizens are cherished, protected and highly valued
The Districts 1-12 (the Palestinians)- the citizens are used to serve the Capitols demands without their own opportunity for aspiration.
The daily lives of Panem citizens are effected by the control the Capitol has over every aspect of their lives, just like in Gaza and the West Bank; while both worlds are monitored by close circuit television.
In addition to their prison-like existence, the citizens of Panem are divided into 12 separate districts, and travel between these districts is prohibited.
Their lives are blighted by the annual threat of the ‘fight for your life’ Hunger Games which is a game to the Capitol, a way of instilling and retaining fear in the districts citizens.
The ‘game’ is broadcast on large screens across the country.
The citizens of the districts-the families and friends of the ‘contestants’, wince with fear as they watch their loved one fighting to survive in a labrynth filled with bobby traps.
While residents of the Capitol soak up the event as entertainment because the contestants are from the Districts-so who cares?
Drawing comparisons between the behavior of the Capitol and Israeli army and its political agenda is not difficult.
The army’s reaction underlines the double standard of their regard for life. 1-Israeli solider is worth 1,000 Palestinian civilians. And some news portals have even come to endorse this too. Respected news giants such as the BBC are accused of giving more air-time to one or two Israeli deaths, than it does to the coverage of hundreds of Palestinian civilians.
Israels Blockade since 2007
- The curfews imposed on the citizens of Gaza are the same as those imposed by the Capitol on the citizens of Panem once the stirrings of revolution fill the districts and the symbolic Mockingjay begins to take its political form (book 2)
- Controlling their food: Israel control where the Palestinians are permitted to fish impacting their local economy as well as impeding on their civil liberties to be able to enjoy the ocean that borders their homeland
- The Philadelphia Corridor, a narrow stretch bordering Gaza and Egypt in the south is controlled by Israeli forces. The free movement of the Palestinians to Egypt is prevented by this wall
The irony: Israel argues that as a state they have the right to defend themselves in the context of war. Yet, the Israeli blockades of Gaza -which have been numerous since 1989-are to prevent weapons entering Gaza. Where then, is Gaza’s right to defend itself in the context of war?
Fight to their death…
Just like in Panem, the chilling events taking place in Gaza are relayed to the rest of the world via television screens. Unlike Panem, this dystopia is real.
Yet just over the wall, a thriving stretch of land known as Israel exists with only history books to remind its citizens of the struggles and persecution their forefathers faced in Nazi Gernany.
It is so unfair that a country has been divided into two extremes and for largely strategic gain, with one becoming a prosperous and optimistic land (I use these adjectives broadly and within the confines of a war) and the other, a degraded, shrinking state where its people are forced to live in a land of ever decreasing size.
The Hunger Games ends on a positive if not poignant note. A new era begins and the citizens of Panem embark on a future without the dictatorship of President Snow and without the annual Hunger Games.
Somehow, I don’t share this hope for the state of Palestine.