OPEN LETTER to Neil Young from Trauma Surgeon and Professor Mads Gilbert of Norway
Dear Neil Young!
I am a committed Norwegian medical doctor who have my daily work at a large Norwegian University Hospital.
I have also worked for the Palestinians since 1981, trying my best to support their medical system in dire situations. Being an anesthesiologist and resuscitation specialist, I also worked in Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City during the Israeli onslaught in Dec-08-Jan 09 (“Operation Cast Lead”) and during the last onslaught in November 2012 (“Operation Pillar of Defence”).
I so much wish you had been with me during these horrendous times and seen the brutal bloodshed caused by the Israeli governmental military forces. The overwhelming majority of those wounded, dying and DOA victims who came to Al Shifa Hospital were civilians. Hundreds of children were killed, thousands injured. During the 2008-09 Israeli attack on Gaza, around 1.400 Palestinians were killed in just three weeks. 13 – thirteen – Israelis were killed, of whom 10 were military, five of them killed by “friendly fire”. Just the brutal, repeated disproptionality of force used by Israel reflected in these numbers of killed and injured civilian, absolutely innocent Palestinians – should make you refrain from playing in Israel. Add to this the fact that Gaza is in fact a child prison: average age among the 1,7 million entrapped Palestinians is 17,6 yrs, almost 60% of the population is 18 and below. They have absolutely nowhere to run, nowhere to hide due to the total siege and blockade of Gaza. The Israeli drones, the F-16′s, Apache helicopters, the gunboats, all the might of the world’s 4th most powerful military force keeps its iron fist on occupied Palestine and its brave but so painfully tested people. Add to the bloodshed and killings the oppression, the slow and purely man-made starvation of the population, the denial of reconstruction of schools, habitat, energy & water systems – all this and more continues as I’m writing these words to you. All with the full support of your US government, for whom you will be seen as a spokesperson and a supporter if – should you – still decide to play in Israel.
I’ve always held you in the highest regards, Mr. Young, as an outstanding activist and a huge source of inspiration and strength in my own limited efforts to make a dent in the shit.
Please, Neil Young, save yourself from this huge mistake of playing in Israel. You will, regardless of your good intentions, be taken as a supporter for the occupying state of Israel if you give your concerts there. If you abstain, as the Norwegian singer Moddi just did, it will be a strong handshake and act of unforgettable solidarity to the tested, but resilient, people of occupied Palestine.
In respect and solidarity,
Mads Gilbert (professor/MD PhD), Tromsoe, Norway