“The amount of physical destruction and the depth of human suffering here is staggering.”
— Rep. Brian Baird
Three U.S. lawmakers made yesterday what was the first congressional visit to Gaza since 2000. Representative Brian Baird from Washington (pictured on the Gaza trip at left), Rep. Keith Ellison from Minnesota and Senator John Kerry visited Gaza to get a “first hand” look at the damage there as a result of the recent Israeli bombardment. Baird represents Washington’s Third Congressional District, where Rachel Corrie grew up.
“People, innocent children, women and non-combatants, are going without water, food and sanitation,” said Ellsion, “while the things they so desperately need are sitting in trucks at the border, being denied permission to go in”
“The amount of physical destruction and the depth of human suffering here is staggering,” Baird reported. “Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed, schools completely leveled, fundamental needs such as water, sewer, and electricity facilities have been hit and immobilized. Relief agencies, themselves, have been heavily damaged. The personal stories of children being killed in their homes or schools; of entire families wiped out, and relief workers prevented from evacuating the wounded are heart wrenching. What went on here? And what is continuing to go on, is shocking and troubling beyond words.”
The BBC has a video segment of Baird making statements of sympathy for the plight of Gaza’s citizens.
In a press release posted on his own website, Baird says that “it’s hard for anyone in our country to imagine how it must feel to have a sick child who needs urgent care or is receiving chemotherapy or dialysis, then be forced to take a needlessly lengthy route, walk rather than drive, and wait in lines as long as two hours simply to get to the hospital. As a health care professional myself, I found this profoundly troubling, no, actually it’s beyond that, it is outrageous.”
the congressman goes on to make an unambiguous call for immediate humanitarian aid, adding that “the first and most urgent priority must be helping the people in Gaza.”
Kerry was on his own delegation visit while Baird and Ellison were on their own separate journey to Gaza. All stated that they weren’t in Gaza as representatives for the Obama administration and Kerry said that the visits don’t represent a shift in U.S. policy.
People wanting to contact Brian Baird to thank him for speaking out in the U.S. on behalf of Gazan humanitarian aid can send him comments via his website.
Sources for this post and some articles about the event: