When the Last Bomb Blows, You’ll No Longer Hear a Bird, and You’ll No Longer Hear a Child

Nov 6, 2020 | 1 comment

The Aberfan disaster was the catastrophic collapse of a colliery tip in Wales in 1966. A mountain of coal slid downhill, burying the local school, killing 116 children and 28 adults. When the avalanche finally stopped, one resident recalled: in that moment of sudden silence, you couldn’t hear a bird, and you could no longer hear a child.

This horrifying event happened on 21st October — the sombre anniversary of which was just a week before we took direct action against Elbit. So, you might ask, what has this Welsh mining disaster got to do with an Israeli arms factory?

Let me explain: the day I learnt about the horrors of Aberfan was the very same day I discovered Palestine and the horrors of the Nakba. I was ten years old, and mortified. For me, the two ‘catastrophes’ are inextricably linked — a very poignant and personal connection grew from that moment of ‘same-day’ discovery that many of you may not understand, but it matters not. For me, they belong together. Both tragedies are intertwined.

The investigation of the day’s events in 1966 concluded that there was a “strong and unanimous view that the Aberfan disaster could and should have been prevented”. The lessons learnt from the catastrophe, which focussed around “the issues of public accountability, responsibility, competence and transparency”, are still of profound relevance today. It is this paragraph that I want you to digest. Remember the words: accountability, responsibility, competence and transparency.

And now, we move back to Israel and its arms company, Elbit, whose drones were used to kill 551 children in just 51 days in 2014 — that’s nearly 11 children a day. I imagine when the bombs finally stopped, the birds were indeed silent, but unlike Aberfan, the agonising cries of dying, maimed, terrorised children and babies would have been most audible — too audible to bear. Screams of bereavement, loss, suffering and pain must have reverberated though the streets of Gaza for every single one of those 51 awful day; I’m sure the screams still haunt the surviving families.

If those Welsh parents in 1966 had been forewarned, they would have climbed that colliery mountain on their hands and knees, and painstakingly removed every bit of coal piece-by-piece until their fingers bled, to save the lives of their children. So here we are, forewarned, taking Elbit on with our our hands, smashing its windows, spraying it’s interiors with blood red paint, tearing its industry apart piece-by-piece and cutting their cables of power — with our teeth if we eventually have to.

By disabling just one of Elbit’s factories, if only for a few days, we could be saving the life of just one Palestinian person, maybe 28 adults or even the lives of 116 children. If we have learnt any lessons from that historic event in 1966, then dismantling an industry that profits from the death of thousands of innocent children and adults alike, is a duty; a moral responsibility — not an act of casual vandalism. Every single day these heinous sites remain open, more civilian lives are lost. Elbit is quite simply a death factory, perfecting the art of killing, and worse still, it’s choosing to kill children.

We will continue to dismantle Elbit’s ability to operate piece-by-piece to save the lives of those innocents. We are accountable, responsible, competent and transparent, just as the Aberfan inquiry said we should be, to prevent unnecessary death and suffering. We are shutting Elbit down to stop its avalanche of killing and prevent the crushing deaths of yet another generation of Palestinian children.



Elbit’s missiles are equipped with cameras that can identify children from adults, which means israeli drone operators know exactly what age group they are killing. in fact, says Defence of Children International, Israel has killed a Palestinian child every three days for the past 18 years — that translates into over 2,100 children. However, those statistics are two years old; 100s more Palestinian children have been murdered by israel since then.

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