I Will Not Look Away

Caitlin Johnstone
3 min readDec 9, 2023

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

I will not look away.

No matter how horrific it gets, I will not look away.

No matter how many children I see killed and injured in the most gruesome ways imaginable, I will not look away.

No matter how much human suffering I see by keeping my gaze on Gaza, I will not look away.

No matter how many nightmares I have, I will not look away.

No matter how many tears I shed, I will not look away.

No matter how many reasons the propagandists and manipulators come up with for me to turn my gaze elsewhere, I will not look away.

No matter how many insults and accusations I am tarred with for refusing to look away, I will not look away.

No matter how much easier it would be to look away, I will not look away.

I will not avert my gaze. I will not become distracted. I will not lose myself to the sedated stupor of escapism. I will not do my best to pretend that everything is normal and that life is basically fine.

It’s a paltry offering, really. Almost nothing. But it’s all I’ve got to offer: this simple, sacred vow to honor the victims by refusing to look away from what’s being inflicted upon them. To be here for it, to the furthest extent possible.

The people of Gaza are suffering far more than I have ever suffered, and probably far more than I ever will suffer. But, in my own meager and entirely insufficient way, I can try to make sure they’re not suffering on their own.

To the extent of one person’s gaze, one person’s attention, one person’s reverence, I can ensure that the world has not turned their back on them. I can ensure that, to that extent, they are not forgotten.

That way even if my other efforts fail, if all our collective efforts fail, if the activism comes up short, if we fail to open enough eyes and apply enough pressure in the necessary places, then at least their deaths, their losses and their anguish will not have slipped by unnoticed. Unappreciated. Unvalued. Unwitnessed.

I will not look away, because these lives matter and I have a duty to honor them.

I will not look away, because that would be giving the bastards what they want.

I will not look away, because even in my powerlessness to help I still have the power to bear witness.

I will not look away, for the same reason that when my parents are dying I will hold their hand and stay by their bedside until they are gone.

Even if we can’t stop this, at the very least we can give them our seeing.

At the very least we owe them that.

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Featured image via Adobe Stock.

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