Dr Mads Gilbert with colleagues and patient during surgery at Shifa hospital, Gaza: photo via Dr Mads Gilbert on twitter, 30 July 2014
I know you applaud for Gaza. I know you applaud for those who are there, the heroes of Gaza.
This will be no easy appeal to make, because I am now overcome by the mildness, the warmth, the safety, the absence of bombs, jets, blood and death. And then all that we’ve had to keep inside comes to the surface -- so forgive me if sometimes I break.
I thought when I got home and met my daughters Siri and Torbjørn, my son-in-law and my grandkids Jenny and Torje, that it is such a mild country we live in.
It so good, with a kind of humanity in all relationships, because we actually built this country on respect for diversity, respect for the individual, respect for human dignity.
And imagine being back in 1945. And I beg to be understood when I say that I am not comparing the German Nazi regime with Israel. I do not.
Torchlight procession for Statsakten (Celebration of Government Act at Akershus, marking transition to German supremacy in Norway under the national government of Vidkun Quisling): photographer unknown, 1 February 1942 (National Archives of Norway)
But I compare occupation with occupation. Imagine that we in 1945 did not win the liberation struggle, did not throw out the occupier, could not see a bright future or believe our kids had a future. Imagine the occupier remaining in our country, taking it piece by piece, for decades upon decades. And banished us to the leanest areas. Took the fish in the sea, took the land, took the water, and we became more and more confined.
And here in Tromsø we were actually imprisoned, because here there was so much resistance to the occupation. So we are imprisoned for seven years, because in an election we had chosen the most resilient, those who would not accept the occupation.
Then after seven years of confinement in our city, Tromsø, the occupier began to bomb us. And they began to bomb us the day we made a political alliance with those in the other confined parts of occupied Norway, to say that we Norwegians would stand together against the occupier. Then they began to bomb us.
Statsakt für Minister Lunde. Fra venstre: General Feuerstein, Generaladmiral Böhm, Quisling, Rediess, Terboven [Walking up Akersgata in Oslo]: photographer unknown, 11 January 1941 (National Archives of Norway)
They bombed our university hospital, then the medical center, then killed our ambulance workers, they bombed schools where those who had lost their homes were trying to seek shelter. Then they cut the power and bombed our power plant. Then they shut off the water supply. What would we have done?
Would we have given up, waved the white flag? No. No, we would not. And this is the situation in Gaza.
This is not a battle between terrorism and democracy. Hamas is not the enemy Israel is fighting. Israel is waging a war against the Palestinian people’s will to resist. The unbending determination not to submit to the occupation!
It is the Palestinian people’s dignity and humanity that will not accept that they are treated as third, fourth, fifth-ranking people.
Josef Terboven, Vidkun Quisling, German officers, inspecting the Rikshirden in Oslo, in conjunction with the Act of State. [Rikshirden = a paramilitary organisation during the German occupation of Norway; membership was compulsory for all members of Vidkun Quisling's fascist Nasjonal Samling party]: photographer unknown, 1 February 1942 (National Archives of Norway: photographer unknown, 1 February 1942 (National Archives of Norway)
In 1938, the Nazis called the Jews “Untermenschen,” subhuman. Today, Palestinians in the West Bank, in Gaza, in the Diaspora are treated as Untermensch, as subhumans who can be bombed, killed, slaughtered by their thousands, without any of those in power reacting.
So I returned home to my free country -- and this country is free because we had a resistance movement, because we said that occupied nations have the right to resist, even with weapons. It’s stated in international law.
You are permitted to fight the occupier even with weapons.
Nobody wants to be occupied!
Dr Mads Gilbert: from an address upon his return home to Tromsø, Norway, via Mondoweiss, 8 August 2014
Dr Mads Gilbert with a patient at Shifa hospital, Gaza: photo via Dr Mads Gilbert on twitter, 30 July 2014