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When the roll is called

EditorialWhen the roll is called

It is a standard norm in most religious or spiritual philosophies that at some point in human existence, all are called to answer for their deeds; and on that day of reckoning, the Great Judge of all will decide between “the wheat and the chaff”. As a nation with an approaching date with destiny, aside from our little internal political elections, we have to seriously consider if we are doing the right things, taking the right positions, making our principled stands known now, that it may figure into the equation somehow when we as a nation shall face the judgement of the world court at the ICJ.

When a player on a sports team is going into a big game, there is always a period of reflection before taking the pitch, the field of combat, where it will be determined whether the result will be the euphoria and jubilation of victory, or the pain and heartbreak of defeat. And in those last pre-game minutes when the adrenalin is pumping, aside from the study and analysis of the opponent, a last-minute check list flashes through one’s mind, perhaps like it is sometimes said that a man/woman’s life flashes before them in the moments before death. And in that time, the player reflects on what he has done to prepare for this big occasion, this great contest. And you think of the workout – training you did, the miles you ran, the skills you worked on, the team effort, the way you pushed yourself to the max, the rest you got, the nourishment you got or didn’t get, the rum you drank that you shouldn’t have, the good things you did to prepare, and the bad things you went and did that may take away from your performance, and yes, the good things you didn’t bother to do, because they didn’t seem so important at the time. Did you take some practice penalty kicks to help ensure that you would be mentally calm if you’re called upon to take one?

There will soon come that day when many of us who are aloof right now, and think that the world is not paying us any attention, and we are too busy to be bothered with whatever is going on in the outer world; our day will soon come, when every Belizean will awake with anxious thoughts, looking to hear the latest news coming out of the court that is deliberating our case against the “unfounded” claim against our precious Jewel.

If only for emotional support, it is heartening and comforting when others declare their solidarity with you. Unity is strength, and just like the loyal fans help to give a team inspiration and courage in competition, so the voices of international support from leaders of great countries on the world stage are a comfort and reassurance to a small speck like Belize, giving pause to other great countries that might be inclined to take us lightly and consider our fate of little consequence in their big picture.

The land of Mandela, South Africa, which has survived and overcome, with global support, the terrible scourge of apartheid, has now taken the lead in challenging the state of Israel before the International Court of Justice with the charge of genocide, as the only remaining avenue to try and bring an end to the slaughter of innocents in Gaza in the name of Israel’s self-defense against the terrorist rebels Hamas who are allegedly hiding among the infrastructure and general Palestinian population in Gaza.

Belize, like a number of other nations, has only a couple months ago taken the drastic measure of severing diplomatic ties with Israel, in hopes of influencing its army to stop the slaughter of civilians in Gaza. But two months later, the atrocity continues, including 10,000 children.

South Africa took an even bigger step towards this same objective near the end of December, charging Israel with genocide at the United Nations’ ICJ. So far, Israel has still not budged, and the slaughter continues. Unfortunately, the two big Western powers, the US and the UK, have only “asked” Israel to try and avoid killing civilians; but none of them have “told” Israel to stop the slaughter. To them, it seems, those Palestinians are as insignificant as our few thousand citizens trying to stay in control of this precious Jewel with “wealth untold”.

Looking behind them, South Africa is reassured and comforted by the sister nations of the world that have added their names to the list in support of its genocide charge against Israel, hoping the international pressure will lead to a cease fire and some form of negotiated settlement to end the atrocity.

Like most countries in our region, Belize has chosen to “lie low” on this one, and not join the voices in support of South Africa’s measure. But none of the other countries in our region shares the existential predicament that Belize currently faces.

As msn.com with input from Associated Press comments: “Many other nations have remained silent. The world’s reaction to the landmark case that was heard Thursday and Friday at the International Court of Justice in The Hague shows a predictable global split when it comes to the inextricable, 75-year-old problem of Israel and the Palestinians. The majority of countries backing South Africa’s case are from the Arab world and Africa. While in Europe, only the Muslim nation of Turkey has publicly stated its support.”

In its January 7, 2024 report, Aljazeera listed among nations supporting South Africa’s charge: The 57-member bloc Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and Morocco, “which voiced their support on December 30”; Malaysia “in a statement released on January 2”; Turkey on January 3; Jordan on January 4; then there is Bolivia, The Maldives, Namibia and Pakistan; Colombia and Brazil. Aljazeera also mentioned advocacy groups in Italy and France; and we know of demonstrations in cities of the US.

Meanwhile, “Israel’s Western allies, including the European Union”, the US and the UK “have mostly maintained silence on the ICJ case.”

www.thesouthafrican.com on January 11, 2024, listed the names of “All countries in support of South Africa’s genocide case against Israel.” We counted 67 countries. Since then there may have been others; but notably, Belize is not among those listed. As the South African article observed, “… a few countries around the globe have not made their stance on the matter public.”

Belize has already made its position in support of a ceasefire known to the world, but there seems to be no sense of urgency on the part of our government to take the next step and also declare support and solidarity with South Africa in their heroic effort to stem the tide of bloodshed in Gaza with this charge of genocide against Israel.

When the roll is called, it is always good to know who is standing with you in your greatest challenge. When there are true friends and firm principles on the side of justice, fear should not become an impediment to good decision making.

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