While Hollywood stars are in Dubai celebrating the opening of the Atlantis Palm Resort Gazans are facing a continuing, devastating blockade. It’s a reality of extremes.
Dubai was host to a $20 million dollar party to celebrate the opening of the resort. Lots of A-listers and not-so-A-listers came out to attend this extravagant affair. Robert Deniro, Denzel Washington, Charlize Theron and Lindsay Lohan showed up. Hell, even Oprah Winfrey came out for this thing. So it must’ve been huge, right? With the whole world suffering from a financial crisis isn’t $20 million for a party a bit much? No; not according to Solomon Kerzner, who along with Dubai owned Nakheel, developed the resort. He said “one might modify a couple of the things … but not significantly.” The $20 million dollars is chump change compared to the $1.5 billion it cost to build the resort. The party was headlined by Kylie Minogue who performed and was reportedly paid 4 million dollars. With that kind of money is that the best they could do? They could’ve at least tried to get someone like Michael Jackson. Oh, wait. No; he’s being sued by a Bahraini prince and is probably tending to another piece of his face that’s fallen off. Too bad. Also part of the affair was a huge fireworks display that was seven times larger than the one at the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. Ugh. This kind of over-the-topness is disgusting.
Meanwhile, not that far away, 1.5 million Gazans have been living under a blockade for months. And to make matters worse (as if they could get much worse) UNRWA had to suspend its operations last week due to a lack of supplies coming in. Residents are now going without electricity, water and fuel. They’re even running out of flour to make the most basic of food staples-bread. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called on Israel to have essential services restored immediately. She said “Decisive steps must be taken to preserve the dignity and basic welfare of the civilian population, more than half of whom are children.” But Israel has never abided by international law so why would/should they start now? It’s not like they’re afraid of the consequences because there are no consequences. It’s all just a bunch of hot air to them. Israel has also banned the international media from entering the Gaza Strip. Over 15 media agencies filed a protest with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The Defense Ministry claims that the media isn’t being singled out but that it’s due to a broader decision to close the borders. However, the media has been let allowed in even during worse conditions and heavy fighting previously. It doesn’t add up.
So I guess this is just another day in the Middle East; some going with too much and many going without.
With Thanksgiving a week away we should all be grateful that we have life’s basic necessities, compared to so many in Gaza who don’t.