I was talking to a longtime friend today and she mentioned that, in the almost 15 years that we've been friends, she has never seen me so upset about a world event as I am about Gaza.
In the way that a loving, trusted friend can, she respectfully asked why I am so upset about Gaza. Is it because I lived in Jerusalem for a while? Is it something else?
As I answered her, it occurred to me that the answer might provide some helpful context for folks who are feeling unclear on how to understand the current situation in Gaza.
Here's why I am so concerned about Israel's violence in Gaza:
I've been saying "sexual freedom cannot exist without basic human rights and safety" as a way to explain why I'm using Pleasure Pie's platform (as a sex-positive organization) to talk about this. While that's true, the reality is that it's barely about sexual freedom for me at this point. The situation is dire. Israel's violence needs to be stopped—now.**
We have power as U.S. residents. The more pressure we put on our government to call for a ceasefire and stop sending aid to Israel, the more likely those things are to happen (and to happen quickly, since time is of the essence as Israel is killing hundreds of people in Gaza each day).
Please call your representatives daily. Boycott brands that fund Israel (like Starbucks, Dunkin, McDonalds, and PUMA). Go to protests if you can, or support folks who do.
Here's an article I wrote on what you can do to support folks in Gaza right now. And here is a list of free PDFs of zines about Palestine that you can print and distribute.
Let's do everything we can to help.
*Here are the numbers that went into these calculations:
22,185 = Today's death count in Gaza by IDF since October 7
2.2 mil = Total Gaza population
1.16 mil = All time covid deaths in U.S.
328 mil = Total U.S. population (as of 2019, since that's mostly before covid)
(A mathematician confirmed these calculations.)
**Reminder that, while Israel's actions are atrocious, the Israeli government is not the Jewish people—just like Hamas is not the Palestinian people. If you're thinking, "But they elected them!" I'd like to remind you that you probably know what it feels like to have shitty options for elected officials and to live in a country run by an administration that you don't like and may not even have voted for.
This article was written by Nicole Mazzeo. Nicole is a sex and consent educator, zine maker, and founder of Pleasure Pie. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.