With the PML-N’s repeated demands to be left alone by protestors demonstrating against immediate problems in their own country, one can scarcely imagine that protesting for the plight of Gaza would achieve anything of real consequence. There is no significant point in painting banners and taking to the streets, or marching upon our parliament because there is nothing it can do. There is nothing anyone can do from keeping the death toll from rising, or stopping Israel from using sophisticated weapons to annihilate the 1.8 million trapped citizens of this illegally occupied strip of land. The Israel-Palestine conflict is perhaps the most barbaric war in all of history- not because bloodier wars have never occurred, but because today we have been given a theatre for it. An audience of billions of people, who can watch the death toll soar in real time, but can do nothing except protest and boycott Israeli products; things that take a long time to trickle into policy. Wars by their nature, will perhaps always be understood in retrospect. By that time of course, it is too late to do anything for those who perished. And so, by order of being citizens of a land that can through might, influence or force do nothing to help the situation in Palestine at the moment, helplessness is not completely unwarranted.

What we can do for Gaza, and for ourselves in Pakistan, is to understand power better. To find Gaza on a map, to read its history and learn lessons about the way we see power, and the nations we choose to support blindly as part of a great Islamic brotherhood. It is time to know better, time to become cynical about where financial help comes from and why, time to ask questions about the motivations and the silence of powerful Muslim states. It is time to finally understand that politics trumps humanity and religious affiliations, and that the extremist war pacing at our door too is about power, not ideology. It is time to be kinder, to stop the oppression of those we can help, to feel and act for those children dying every day in our cities because of our neglect; and then to remember Gaza, and to remember that the ache of death and loss is the same everywhere, and that what we can do for Gaza is reach out and help ourselves.