For Gaza on Christmas

Image by Michael Leonardo.

This Christmas season I am at home alone in Roma, Italy with Covid. It feels like a cold and I haven’t even had a fever. I’m ok and will be with family and friends soon enough. I have a roof over my head, plenty of food, water and everything I need to survive without the constant threat of this building being bombed and reduced to rubble at anytime.

I don’t have faith in christ as my savior or in any of the world’s religions so the importance of this holiday has more to do with nostalgia for family and coming together to lighten the darkest days of the year than anything else. I have exchanged messages with friends and loved ones and don’t feel under any extreme, impending threat other than looming ecocide as it is 15 degrees above normal for this time of year. More than anything it seems xmas has become a holiday to consume things, unnecessarily.

In a previous holiday message sent out to friends and family around the world,  I said that “all I want for xmas is a free Palestine”, but my wish list goes beyond that. The horrific reality in Gaza is a reality that has unfolded before all of our eyes, unless you have chosen to look away. If you haven’t seen the terrible images of slaughtered children coming out of Gaza, daily, over the last 3 months you are turning a blind’s eye to the most brutal genocide to unfold on this planet of this millennium. This genocide has nothing to do with Hamas but everything to do with the supremacist, nationalistic, racist and dehumanizing nature of Zionism that has been a brutal colonialist force for 75 years, in the territory previously known as Palestine on all world maps. Zionism has spread its tentacles all over the world.

Suppose you witness this reality and pretend that all is normal or acceptable. In that case, you are internalizing the dehumanization of our species as a collective whole and helping to bring into question what it really means to be human. Are we merely destructive beasts interested in our own self interests at the expense of generations of varying religious and ethnic groups and the future survivability of our species in its entirety?

We have witnessed far too much silence, ignorance and impotence in the face of this reality to feel comfortable with this so called “human” species. I would like more than just a free Palestine this Christmas, and hope for a humanity that respects all humans equally regardless of color, religion, gender identity, or ethnicity. The nation-states of the United States and Israel seem particularly callous and divisive for our species. Europe seems little, if anything, more than a colonial outpost of the omnipotent US empire, and Israel seems the definitive expression of what it means to institutionalize racism, supremacy, and exceptionalism, like the Jim Crow separate and unequal reality for people of color as the domestic realities within in the United States and Europe. Israel seems to function as a tool for “Western” interests on a global scale. I want to believe humans can do better, but I have my doubts. Merry Xmas.

Michael Leonardi lives in Italy and can be reached at