Al Jazeera


Shane was a German tourist visiting Israel. God had sent her a soothsayer, as he does to many, with a message – “Don’t go to Israel,” Fate would have none of that. As it was with Julius Ceasar, she laughed to derision at the messenger and on the clear morning of 7th October 2023 said, “the Ides of October are come.”

There was nothing in the horizon to cause her to worry. She had heard about the Israeli- Palestinians conflict numerous times in her years of existence. Sitting on a couch, munching on Pretzel sticks in front of her parent’s wide screen television, she had listened unattentively as the German news anchor talked of the Israeli airstrikes pounding of Gaza in 2021. Being neither Palestinian nor Jewish, she couldn’t be bothered, all she was waiting for was her favourite comedy show to start after the boring news.

Today, many that are reading this are in the same state of mind Shane was – whether Israel levelled Gaza and the people perish, that is not of anyone’s concern. Even if what is happening in the Red Sea escalates to and becomes a full-scale war, you are far removed from the theatre of war, so why should this be concerning?

Well, for Shane, all was fine until that eventful morning . Still tired from the celebration of “friends, love and infinite freedom” that ran the previous day, she was fast asleep in her camping tent . Then a loud sound woke her up, she pried open a part of the tent and could see festival attendants running amok but there was no trance music playing. She quickly figured that these were not people under trance, and something was deeply wrong. Freeing herself from the tent, she took to her heels and ran.

This was Re’im on the western Negev desert. It was all open field with little covering scattered and at a distance. She soon flung off her shoes that were impeding her from full flight and with her arms swaying in the air from side-to-side, she picked up speed – her life was in danger. She thought of running towards the trees but then she saw terror, people already hiding being shot. She changed directions, heading towards the cars and that was when she landed in the waiting hands of death – a group of Hamas men took her.

We don’t need to guess why Hamas attacked that day. Hamas itself has told us, saying it was motivated to launch the attack to cast off the yoke of bondage that has been placed on the Palestinian people arising from the treatment of Palestinians, the continued  expansion of Israeli settlements and recent outbreaks of violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

To Hamas, Shane was one of the offsprings of those that have kept them in an open-air prison. They took her on a humiliating and excruciating parade, then killed her and placed her remains on the bed of a truck to be paraded around the streets of northern Gaza.

It was a gruesome and cruel end for Shane, a very sad story. Now that I have your attention, the perennial Israeli-Hamas conflict could lead to the loss of life of any of us through a combination of ill-fated events. You asked how? On 17 July 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down by a rocket from one of the belligerents and the entire passengers died in a war of which they were uninvolved and unconcerned.

This is why we need to learn from the story of the mouse trap teaching us how easily “it is not my problem” can became “everybody’s problem.” So, what could Shane have done or any of us do?

Shane was an influencer. What if she had used some of that influence and added her voice to the cessation of hostilities in the Middle East in a manner similar to what Greta Thunberg is doing for climate change or Malala Yousafzai is fighting for education? Albeit, it is too late for Shane but not for us. For the rest of us, still sitting comfy in front of our televisions munching on popcorns and sipping Kool-Aid, let us remember that anything happening at any corner of this world affects us all and we should lend our voices to condemn injustice wherever found.

In the end, the mousetrap didn’t kill the mouse but every other person paid the price.