By Christopher Overfelt
Note: Christopher Overfelt, a member of Veterans for Peace and of the PeaceWorks KC Board, gave this testimony Dec. 14 at the “Peace in the Holy Land” vigil in KC MO. He said that, as a vet, he had been a “soldier of empire.”
From Oct. 7 to Nov. 15 this year, in a span of a little more than a month, Israel dropped 15,000 US-made bombs and missiles on Gaza. That’s 500 bombs a day. These are missiles you and I paid for. Each missile costs tens of thousands of dollars, some of them $100,000 each. Israel fired 57,000 US-made artillery shells into Gaza. That’s 1900 artillery shells a day. Gaza is half the size of New York City. Over 1 million Gazans were ethnically cleansed from their homes. Ten thousand Gazans were outright slaughtered, over half of them children. These numbers have doubled in the month since Nov. 15.
It’s important that we stand here in solidarity, and that we stand as witnesses to the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people. Because the truth is being actively destroyed along with the destruction of the people of Gaza. Palestinian history is being erased, just as the people of Palestine are being erased. As in all genocides, the perpetrators will destroy the evidence, they will destroy anyone who speaks out against it, and they will control the narrative so that they are painted as victors in a righteous conflict. So I am here today and I am saying, “This is happening.” This genocide is happening right now, and it is being perpetrated by the American empire through its proxy state Israel. The empire will lie, it will bully those who speak out, and it will ultimately extinguish the truth, because that is what all empires do.
I am going to read a poem written by the Gazan poet and teacher Refaat Alareer. Refaat was murdered in his home by Israeli Occupation Forces just fifteen days ago. He was a teacher of peace in the firestorm of hatred in the world around him. He posted this poem to his Twitter account as he listened to the American bombs, that you and I pay for, close in around him. It was his last communication with the outside world. The poem is titled, “If I Must Die, Let It Be a Tale.”
If I Must Die, Let It Be a Tale If I must die, you must live to tell my story to sell my things to buy a piece of cloth and some strings, (make it white with a long tail) so that a child, somewhere in Gaza while looking heaven in the eye awaiting his dad who left in a blaze— and bid no one farewell not even to his flesh not even to himself— sees the kite, my kite you made, flying up above and thinks for a moment an angel is there bringing back love If I must die let it bring hope let it be a tale