Sue Gray: What life is like for the people of Gaza | AspenTimes.com

Sue Gray: What life is like for the people of Gaza

Sue Gray
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

To get an idea of what life must be like for the people of Gaza right now, try to imagine the following …

It’s been 42 years since the U.S. lost the war with Mexico, and they set up a military occupation in the territories of Southern California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Texas and Colorado. Mexican civilians have been moving in to these territories, building walled neighborhoods and Mexican-only highways that destroy our homes and ranches, cut us off from each other, and strangle our economy. Those of us who weren’t driven out of the country in the 1967 military campaign are now penned in by high concrete walls and subject to checkpoints, curfews, closures, searches and raids at the hands of the Mexican army.

The people of the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado are suffering from a terrible crisis. There are now more than a million American refugees crowded into the area from Buffalo Valley to Independence Pass and from Missouri Heights to McClure Pass. The Mexican government has complete control of the valley’s borders, and for the last 18 months they have imposed a blockade, closing the airports and all roads into and out of the valley, cutting off supplies of food, medicine and fuel, which means our electrical, water and sewer systems don’t work.

Our children are starving, and our sick are dying. But the Organized Resistance Movement is still alive. In fact, in a free and fair election we voted the ORM into power. ORM members are our police, fire and government officials, and help supply us with humanitarian aid, food and fuel. They are our lifeline. In addition, ORM has a military wing made up of 20,000 of our brave husbands, fathers and sons who fight to gain our freedom from the occupiers so we can form a state of our own, independent from Mexico, which some believe to be a futile hope.

A few weeks ago ORM’s military wing launched a barrage of rockets (smuggled from Canada) into the Mexican town of Agua Caliente ” what used to be Glenwood Springs. No one was killed, but citing the right to defend their civilians from attack, the Mexican military began an aerial assault, dropping bombs on the Roaring Fork Valley for more than a week, killing hundreds of residents.

They first destroyed the tunnels that are used to smuggle in food, medicine and fuel to keep our people alive, and weapons to keep the resistance movement alive. Aspen Valley Chapel, Basalt High School and the Carbondale campus of Colorado Mountain College were bombed because the Mexican government claimed they were meeting places used by ORM to plan attacks.

Then they targeted our government facilities. All of our city halls have been destroyed as well as the homes of our mayors and Town Council members. When the home of Basalt Mayor Leroy Duroux was demolished, he and his wife, Janice, were killed, leaving behind their children Amy and Darren. Most of Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale’s town councils have been killed along with their spouses and children, though miraculously, Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland escaped unscathed.

The valley’s fire stations, police stations and police officers’ homes were bombed. Sheriff Braudis and Police Chiefs Pryor and Shilling and their families are all dead. Basalt Police Chief Ikeda narrowly escaped his home before it was bombed, but was killed when the car he was fleeing in was hit by a Mexican missile. During that operation, the Basalt neighborhood where Ikeda lived was destroyed. Twelve people were killed and 40 more wounded.

Our medical facilities have little medicine or electricity, so after pressure from international humanitarian groups, the Mexican government agreed to send in some medical supplies, but it isn’t enough to treat the thousands of wounded people, with more coming in every day.

We were already weakened from the blockade, and now our infrastructure is destroyed, and our government officials and public servants have all been murdered. More than 500 of our friends, family and neighbors have been killed, and as Mexican tanks and troops advance into the Roaring Fork Valley, we know we’re in for more death and destruction. But what can we do? We’re a hopeless people, fighting a hopeless cause. We have no tanks, no anti-aircraft guns, and no planes with which to repel the onslaught of Mexican military might. We can’t even send our women and children to safety outside of the valley because we’re penned in like defenseless animals ready for slaughter.

The world’s leaders are turning a blind eye. They say it’s our own fault for electing the wrong people. We’re on our own. But we vow to fight to the death for our freedom, for our dignity, for our right to live on our own land, because despite 42 years of foreign occupation, we are still proud Americans …

Please, for the sake of people just like us, in towns just like ours, who love their children as much as we do, call or write your government representatives today, including President-elect Obama, and tell them that you want America to stand up for the lives and rights of the Gazan people. Demand that Israel end this bloody siege now.


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