Alleged gunman Sousse, Tunisia (image from video)
The gunning down of tourists including up to 23 Brits on a beach in Sousse, Tunisia is now being referred to by the UK government and in the media as “the worst terrorist attack on the British people since 7/7”. The reference to 7/7 relates to the London bombings on the 7th July 2005 which left 52 dead, over 700 injured and 4 bombers also died. This years marks the 1oth anniversary.
Seifiddine Rezgui a 23 year old engineering student from Kairouan also known as Abu Yahya Al Qayrawani (his nom de guerre) dressed in shorts and t-shirt and emerged from the sea producing a weapon hidden within his umbrella. Rezgui then embarked on a terrible killing spree targeting families as they relaxed on sunbeds and played in the sand, locals however were spared. He took the life of Lisa Burbidge, from Whickham in Gateshead, shot Mathew James from Pontypridd, south Wales 3 times as he tried to protect his fiance and annihilated several members of the Evans family. Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack.
My earlier story on terrorism in Tunisia can be read on the following link,
“Tunisia: Islamic State allege responsibility for Sousse attack and earlier claimed Bardo museum assault.”
Rezgui’s actions have left many Tunisians shocked. The Telegraph recounts “reports of a group of Tunisian men forming a human shield to prevent the gunman – who was targeting Europeans – from attacking other hotel guests.” Those who rely on tourists for their livelihood will be affected for years to come as experienced following the bombing of the tourist district of Kuta, Bali and kidnapping of holidaymakers near the Pyramids in Egypt.
The slaughter at Sousse is widely condemned. A clampdown is now in place, mosques not regulated by the state will be closed down and the injured where possible are in the process of being transported home.
The Mirror reported Prime Minister David Cameron referring to the attacks in Tunisia and France (no mention of Kuwait) as a “death cult” stating,
“the horror in Tunisia and Grenoble ‘fitted into this pattern of extremism Islamism and violence,’ he (Cameron) said at the EU summit in Brussels
‘We have to combat not only the terrorism, not only working with the countries that are suffering but dealing with this poisonous mindset, this death cult that is poisoning young minds and turning them to this path of mindless violence.'”
Children playing on a Gaza beach minutes before death
I am reminded of an earlier incident of “slaughter on the beach” in Gaza. As Professor Tanya Reinhart wrote back in 2002, the Gaza strip is a perfect realization of the Israeli vision of “separation”. Surrounded with electric fences and army posts, completely sealed off the outside world, Gaza has become a huge prison.” I recall an incident of extreme behaviour, another death cult of mindless violence which was condemned by many international human rights organizations, politicians and media who witnessed the beach attack carried out by the Israeli government.
Peter Beaumont of the Guardian wrote a poignant account on the 16th July 2014 of the Israeli shelling of children on a beach in the Gaza strip. The following is an extract,
“in the space of 40 seconds, four boys who had been playing hide and seek among fishermen’s shacks on the wall were dead. They were aged between seven and 11; two were named Mohammad, one Zakaria and the youngest Ahed. All were members of the extended Bakr family.
Three others who were injured made it to the hotel: Hamad Bakr, aged 13, with shrapnel in his chest; his cousin Motasem, 11, injured in his head and legs, and Mohammad Abu Watfah, 21, who was hit by shrapnel in his stomach.
A man who had been near them reached the hotel terrace first, scrambling up a steep sandy bank. A skinny man in his 30s, he groaned and held up a T-shirt already staining red with blood where he was hit in the stomach. He fainted and was carried to a taxi waved down in the street as he grew pale and limp.
The children were brought up next. Pulling up the T-shirt of the first boy, journalists administering first aid found a shrapnel hole, small and round as a pencil head, where he had been hit in the chest. Another boy, a brother or cousin, who was uninjured, slumped by the wall, weeping.
The injured boy cried in pain as the journalists cleaned and dressed the wound, wrapping a field dressing around his chest. He winced in pain, clearly embarrassed too as a colleague checked his shorts to look for unseen femoral bleeding. A waiter grabbed a table cloth to use as a stretcher, but a photographer took the boy in his arms to carry him to the ambulance.”
See following link for full story,
“Witness to a shelling: first-hand account of deadly strike on Gaza port”
Child hit by shelling on Gaza Beach (Image via Global Research)
CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
Child hit by shelling (Huffington Post)
Relatives of four boys, all from the Bakr family, mourn during their funeral in Gaza City, on July 16, 2014., Mohammad Abed /AFP/Getty images
Children slaughtered on Gaza beach (image Mirror)
As Noam Chomsky, American linguist, philosopher, social justice activist, stated, “everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism, well there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.” Many would apply that statement to Israel. However whereas the attack in Sousse is immediately deemed a “terrorist attack” (and if the perpetrator had lived he would have been charged with terrorism) Israel is off the hook.
As Middle East Eye (MEE) reported only 2 weeks before the Sousse assault,
“Israel announced on Thursday that no criminal charges will be brought against members of its army responsible for the deadly attack last summer on a Gaza beach that killed four boys from the same family.”
The defence for killing innocent children was, “the beach the boys were playing hide and seek on had been used by Hamas fighters to launch rockets at Israel.” However as MEE points out, Rifat Kassis (Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) stated at the time of the attack, “Israeli forces continue to target and kill children and civilians on a daily basis, making Israeli military statements claiming that these deaths are tragic mistakes simply meaningless.” Hopefully this case will now proceed to the International Criminal Court as evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes.
See following link for full article,
Western governments have long supported the Israelis with drone factories in the UK, funds and material support provided for “terror” despite human rights reports detailing what they claim is evidence of alleged war crimes. Islamic State and other jihadist groups continually highlight the abuses carried out on the Palestinians which are debated daily in online forums. We do not know if Rezgui was aware of the announcement by Israeli authorities dismissing the Gaza beach attack as “legal” though if he was radicalized four years ago as some media claim, it is likely he knew of the incident. Photos of the beach shelling were circulated widely last year on social media. Tunisians have been some of the most vocal people speaking out on atrocities against the Palestinians as was evident on Facebook and Twitter during the 2014 bombardment of Gaza.
In order to address terrorism, governments must first confront their own double standards on terrorism. They rush to prosecute suspected individuals and groups whilst ignoring state terrorists targeting Gazans like fish in a bowl. The act carried out by Rezgui is labelled “terrorism” without hesitation yet the terrorism of state institutions is downplayed often with no accountability. As long as such hypocrisy exists we must expect terrorist attacks to not only continue but very likely increase.
“Witness accounts of Gaza attack that killed 4 boys”
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.