The massive public turnout in the US for the inaugural presidential address of Barack Obama underlines the incontestable fact that millions of people in the US and around the world invest great hope for change in him. But amid the bloody ruins of Gaza, the latest victims of US-backed imperialist war blinked uncomprehendingly at TV images of this spectacle of euphoria.
Not much inspires hope in any US president after the US-armed and supported Israel has just flattened your homes, killed 1300 (including 700 civilians and 300 children) and injured many thousands more (including 1500 children, according to UNICEF).
Haven't the people of Gaza noticed that Obama has signed a decree ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp? Haven't they heard of his offer of friendship to Muslim people?
The graves of children and other innocents speak more forcefully than the finest speech. The cries of the wounded in the overloaded and under-supplied hospital drowned out Obama's words.
Obama's shameful silence as the Bush administration encouraged Israel's massacre and vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling upon it to stop, nixed his inaugural address.
Obama's post-inauguration declaration that he would work to close down the smugglers' tunnels between Gaza and Egypt also spoke eloquently to the battered but undefeated people of Gaza. These tunnels are their lifeline — until the borders to Gaza are opened.
The millions who have invested hope for change in Obama must learn from the response of the people of Gaza that deeds speak louder than words: the US will never be seen as a champion of justice and peace while it arms Israel's bloody bullying and continues its imperialist wars abroad.
Hope for change is good, but futile unless you are prepared to organise and fight for it.
Green Left Weekly has begun the year organising for change in solidarity with the people of Gaza. But we need your help to keep up this fight. Already supporters of GLW have pledged $96,750 to the 2009 fighting fund. You can join them in making a pledge now. You don't have to pay all at once, you can pay it off in instalments over the course of the year. But making a pledge now helps us plan how to meet our $250,000 target.
Direct deposits to the GLW fighting fund can be made to: Greenleft, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account No. 901992. Alternatively, send a cheque or money order to PO Box 515, Broadway NSW 2007, phone it through on the toll-free line at 1800 634 206 (within Australia), or donate online at <http://www.greenleft.org.au/donate.php>.