I learned a new word this week. Dystopia:
Dystopia, noun: an imaginary place where people are unhappy and usually afraid because they are not treated fairly; an unpleasant future where people are often dehumanized; a nightmare world characterized by human misery, squalor, oppression, disease and overcrowding… Dystopian societies give us glimpses into distorted societies where justice and freedom are suppressed; where deprivation is a way of life; and lives are dispensable. They ask us to imagine a society where people are pushed to the limits of what they can endure – and often killed if they can’t.
Well, we don’t have to imagine. Just think of Israel’s Gaza.
The biggest strain on Israel’s legacy, image and conscience is Gaza. More than two million people now live in Gaza, that little sliver of land squeezed between Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, barely 25 miles long and no more than seven miles across at its widest point. According to the United Nations, the territory could be unlivable by 2020 and Israel totally controls Gaza, as 70 percent of Gazans subsist on less than a dollar a day and 60 percent have no daily access to water.
Decades of siege and three major bombardments in six years has left Gaza in a state of perpetual crisis. “We aren’t human. Our life is hell. We are living like animals,” says 54 year old Maeen Neim Maqbel, whose home was destroyed by Israel, twice. Add to that; leaking sewage systems, and electricity for barely half the day and totally dependent upon charity handouts from the United Nations to keep his family alive and you have a glimpse of dystopia in Gaza.
Unemployment in Gaza stands at 40 percent, however for those between 15 and 29 years of age, the unemployment rate is 60 percent. Poverty has increased with almost 80 percent of Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid to survive… In 2000 the U.N. was feeding 80,000 people in Gaza; today it feed over 830,000 people.
The most painful part of this whole scenario for me is not the almost total indifference of most Americans to this suffering and the eagerness of my government to support it, but the unwillingness of my church to address it.
October 19, 2016
 Huffington Post, Gaza: The Makings of a Modern Day Dystopia, September 22, 2014.
 Rochelle Marshall: Has Obama Made a Devil’s Bargain with Israel. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 2009.
 Mondoweiss, Living in the Aftermath: Palestinians in Gaza Struggle under the Siege to Rebuild, December 3, 2014
 Sara Roy, Deprivation in Gaza. July 19, 2014. Sara Roy is a senior research scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University.