24 February | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

Sharing pain: Shalom for Gaza to restore, to preserve humanity

With ongoing humanitarian crises in Middle East, there are voices being raised for people of Gaza even from staunch supporters of anti-ceasefire

Shalom, meaning peace when translated to English language, is the word Jewish people use when engaging in the act of greeting one another. The root word for Shalom is Shalam whose ancient Hebrew meaning is ‘to make something complete’, ‘to make full restitution’ or ‘to fully restore’. It is one of the fundamental principles of Torah – the holy book. The Arabic version of Shalom is Salaam, sounds quite similar referring to ‘a hope of world peace.’ As of today, the total casualties occurred in Gaza have been reported about 19,500. This huge number includes people of all age groups and professions, from toddlers to elderly, students to professionals such as teachers, writers, journalists, and many more.

With ongoing humanitarian crises in Middle East, there are voices being raised for the people of Gaza even from staunch supporters of anti-ceasefire. This damage to human life has made countries around the world question their own morality. Especially with the press probing into these matters on daily bases and social media influence, there is a little margin left now for people to remain unmindful of these astounding figures, such a huge human toll once again calls in question the ‘modernization’ of humans, it also questions the extent, to which the degradation of human values can be tolerated. The World War II, ending with a nuclear Holocaust, ensured vast global scale casualties.

A horrible depiction that is taught to this day in textbooks as to why we should refrain from waging wars. The Jewish community around the world, being the direct victims of savagery of the World War II, relates to the suffering of the people of Gaza and has also joined the voices supporting the Palestinians in their plight. Like other communities, multiple protests have been recorded around the world by Jewish community supporting Palestinians. The Jewish community of Iran had made their stance clear in a protest held after the incident of October 7, 2023, which resulted in the demise of Palestinian and Israeli lives.

Like other communities, multiple protests show Jewish community also joins protests, supports Palestinians

The protest strongly condemned atrocities being carried out in Middle East, conveying that the name of a religion should not be used for justifying crimes against humanity. Moreover, they urged the international community to extend its support for the afflicted. Such protests have taken place throughout Iran in the cities of Tehran, Sheraz, Kirmanshah, Isfahan, and Yazd highlighting that the Jews around the world share pain of their fellow beings and wish for a peaceful resolution rather than carrying out of inhuman practices. This is the essence of Shalom, to restore, to preserve the humanity whatever it takes.

Likewise, a shift in the opinion of American Jewish community has also been observed after the October 7 incident. Where many American Jewish support the Israel waging war on Palestine, there is a segment within the community that begs to differ. This certain section of Jewish community believes that if there is one thing that has been learned from the horrors of the past committed against their own community is that such heinous acts should never be committed against any other human being. The groups like If Not Now and Jewish Voice for Peace have been condemning Israel’s treatment of Palestinians for a long time.

We can observe that these modern day activists are helping to invoke an atmosphere of awareness among the Jewish community residing in the United States of America. This shift in the thinking of a vast majority of Jews gives meaning to the word Shalom, which also means to ‘to make something complete’. Jews around the world taking a stand for their fellowmen, currently suffering in Gaza, is a step towards achieving the completion of peace. In order to make this process of peace complete, it is the need of hour to stand together and put a full stop to this aggression.