How To Be Productive During A Genocide

A big October 2023 protest in Melbourne; protester holds a sign printed with a woman's face in a headscarf, and the caption: 'by the side of the Palestinians (for all the reasons in the world)'
Matt Hrkac from Melbourne, Australia [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

by Arwa Mahdawi

Genocide is bad and all but it does have its silver linings. For example: the wholesale destruction of Gaza and the intense human suffering of two million people has really helped me cut down on my drinking.

I’ve always been an enthusiastic enjoyer of alcohol (I am half-British after all), but that went into overdrive after October 7. The intense anti-Palestinian rhetoric, the wild blood-lust, the bombs, the bombs, the bombs. I was working on a freelance brand strategy project at the time (this may be shocking to some readers, but writing doesn’t exactly pay the bills) and the ad agency’s Slack group was filled with people cheering on the bombing of Gaza. As someone who is half-Palestinian I felt like I couldn’t speak up without losing all future employment prospects with that agency again. I felt like I couldn’t ask the agency’s leadership to acknowledge that Palestinians are people too, that we were all suffering. So—a coward—I kept my mouth shut, my head down, and did my work. To numb everything, to quiet the screaming inside me, I started self-medicating with booze. An age-old remedy for despair.

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