Caitlin Johnstone: I Will Not Look Away

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.

By Caitlin Johnstone

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.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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31 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: I Will Not Look Away

  1. caroline shulene
    December 13, 2023 at 09:14

    thank you! ??????

  2. C. Parker
    December 13, 2023 at 01:32

    Only the cowards look away. I stand with Caitlin and the growing number of humanists disgusted with those who look away. Thanks to independent media whose devotion to bringing forth to the world for all to see this horror. For shame on the all who look away!

  3. James Olson
    December 12, 2023 at 20:41


  4. robert e williamson jr
    December 12, 2023 at 17:19

    We should never look away, we cannot look away, we will never look away. We will forever stare into the eyes of the soulless murders here, Hamas included with the glare of disapproval and condemnation. Hamas, the IDF, the leaders of U.S. and Israel have proven themselves not worthy of any respect from the rest of us.

    “The EYES have it!”, so be it written in the history of the year 2023 the abysmal United State’s leadership further tarnished the ever dimming the reputation of this nation, a nation claiming to the be the greatest ever, by openly supporting the Israeli Genocide in Gaza. Horrifically Shameful!

    BTW James White has it right here. I want the world to know at least one half of Americans adamantly oppose U.S. foreign policy in this instance. We have grown weary of our leaders continued failures in leading the world in the right direction.

    Micheal888 – I’m 100% in agreement with you also – be 75 soon, our piss poor leadership has stolen any source of national pride. Nobody sees the the trouble I see . . . .

    Thanks Caitlin, CN & Crew.

    • XPat Paula
      December 13, 2023 at 07:25

      Robert e williamson jr, take Hamas off your list. See Chris Hedges & Scott Ritter, for example.

  5. December 12, 2023 at 15:54

    We cannot look away, because there is absolutely nothing stopping the same thing from happening to us, but us, we ourselves, just as it is true for them.

  6. Simon Hunt
    December 12, 2023 at 12:11

    Yes. How can we stop these monsters that rule us, and all the suffering and death they cause?

  7. Ariel Ky
    December 12, 2023 at 11:10

    I stand with Caitlin Johnstone. I will not look away from what is happening to the Palestinians in Gaza. Even though I’ve suffered nightmares. Even though I’ve broke down crying. Even though I’ve succumbed to depression, despair, and a sense of hopelessness. However, in not looking away, I’ve drawn on my character strengths to overcome depression, to not give in to despair, to remain full of hope. And to know that love is the answer. Love is the way. Love is our hope. Love heals. Love is so powerful that it can overcome anything.

    Do you believe that? I do. And it’s because I have not looked away. It may seem like a paltry offering, but if it can open the heart for love to pour through… well, that’s not so minor. If we can all open our hearts to send love to everyone involved in a conflict, it can shift what happens. I truly believe that. Humanity can grow through love; we can survive. We can end wars. We can thrive. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Love is the creative impulse. Love heals. Love opens the door.

    • Susan Siens
      December 12, 2023 at 14:30

      I like what you have to say, but you’re leaving out an important component of JUSTICE. Love means nothing to sociopaths and psychopaths, it doesn’t even mean much to many ordinary people. It is a word thrown about so often it has become hollow and meaningless. I know you mean agape — love in action — but agape does nothing to prevent murderers and rapists from continuing to murder and rape.

      We also need LIMITS. We live in a country which wallows in no limits, no shame, no boundaries (probably because it’s great for predatory capitalism). We have the leaders we do because there are no limits. You can be profoundly corrupt and you keep getting elected. You can even engage in murder, usually by proxy, and your political career continues unabated. The interstate highway in Maine — we only have one — is now no longer patrolled, just as our leaders are not patrolled and punished. Not only do the rich and powerful do what they please, but many ordinary people think they have the right to do what they please. The ultimate triumph of neoliberalism is having no concern for anyone else’s well-being.

  8. Frank Lambert
    December 12, 2023 at 10:18

    Caitlin, you’re a kindred soul and like the other comments above, I’m also in awe of your words!

    “The pen is mightier than the sword!”

    In the long run, we hope!

  9. Paul Citro
    December 12, 2023 at 09:13

    All trade and commerce with genocidal Israel must be stopped immediately.

  10. michael888
    December 12, 2023 at 09:06

    George W. Bush gave us torture. Trump gave us loud, brash racist TALK. Obama/ Biden gave us GENOCIDE in Yemen, the Donbas and other ethnic Russian enclaves in Ukraine, and now Palestine.

    The US is no longer the country I grew up in.

    • Frank Lambert
      December 12, 2023 at 10:13

      Michael888, Correct! For quite a few years, I’ve been telling people in my age group, “This is not the country we grew up in” and they nod in the affirmative or say, “it sure isn’t!”

      • vinnieoh
        December 12, 2023 at 15:23

        You’re both wrong. This is exactly the country we grew up in. I’m assuming you’re near my age, born in ’53. That was the year I believe the active part of the Korean conflict ended (the US bombed North Korea into the stone age.) Also the year of the US/UK coup against the democratically elected government of Iran and also of a US sponsored coup in Guatemala. And of course all the other interventions in Central and South America of the 50’s – 70’s, especially Chile. Have you not heard of the “School of the Americas,” where our military trained killers, torturers, and propagandists to carry out the true Monroe Doctrine?

        However, moving on, the next major conflict of the US – Viet Nam – a war that never should have happened. Somewhere near 3 million Vietnamese killed, possibly 6 million sickened by the residue of poisons we sprayed all over that land. Now we buy sweaters from them and try to recruit them as allies against our next great foe.

        The effort of WWII created a war economy that was so lucrative for some that it was never dismantled. The closest chance of dismantling it happened after the Soviet collapse, but new conflicts were created or inflamed to give it new life. It’s what the PNAC’s position paper of ca.2000 was all about.

        This is exactly the country we grew up in – it’s just more naked now.

        • Frank Lambert
          December 12, 2023 at 18:02

          Yes and no, vinnieoh. I’m six years senior to you, born in 47. But you’re correct in everything you said above, as it can be substantiated with facts. I understand what you mean.

          And yes, not only have I heard of the “School of the Americas,” I wrote letters and protested it be shut down, back in the day.

          AS far as I’m concerned, the U.S. is on an equal par with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, and maybe even worse, in spite of the Hollywood melodrama and documentaries of that era.

          Question: Did you read the Diana Johnstone book while on vacation last year? Or was it earlier this year?

          • XPat Paula
            December 13, 2023 at 07:28

            Which great Diana Johnstone book?

            • Frank Lambert
              December 13, 2023 at 11:38

              “Circle in the Darkness”
              Memoir of a World Watcher

              Published in 2020 by Clarity Press.

              Diana has been a hero of mine for many years and is a scholar in the finest tradition and I can’t praise her enough.

              It was certainly a page turner for me and many others. The great John Pilger and Paul Craig Roberts feel the same way. Roberts goes so far saying it’s the best book he’s ever read.

              Please buy it and see for yourself. You won’t be sorry.

          • vinnieoh
            December 13, 2023 at 10:11

            Perhaps you’ve confused me with someone else. I haven’t read Diana Johnstone’s book – my loss, as I greatly admire and appreciate her pieces posted here.

            Just to follow up on these themes: my criticisms of US policies, past and present, no more makes me “anti-American” than being critical of Israeli policies, past and present, makes me “antisemitic” aka a “Jew hater.” If I really “hated” America I would keep my mouth shut because there are many of my fellow countrymen working feverishly to destroy anything good that this national experiment may have accomplished.

            • Frank Lambert
              December 13, 2023 at 11:59

              I would have lost money betting it was you on who I recommended Diana Johnstone’s memoir.

              But don’t feel like the Lone Ranger on your “criticism” of U.S. policies. I’ve been doing it since 1967 as a Vietnam combat vet. And, have been a critic of Israel and Zionism for several decades, with good reason. Over the years I’ve been called a commie, a Nazi, a Fifth Columnist, and told to” go back to Russia if you don’t like it here,” which I find odd, as I’ve never been to Russia or even Eastern Europe, but it shows you how dumbed down fellow citizens are, which I call the willfully ignorant. Especially in the computer age.


        • John Robertson
          December 12, 2023 at 20:24

          ” it’s just more naked now.”

          As an 86yo Australian I agree 100%.

    • Susan Siens
      December 12, 2023 at 14:20

      To you and Frank, this IS the country you grew up in, you just didn’t know what was going on. My parents were very political, very aware, yet they told me nothing of the profound corruption of Harry Truman. They associated with a man who was in the Israeli underground and bought all the lies he told them. They voted for Lyndon Johnson, another appallingly corrupt man, and continued to vote Democratic. Remember Earl Warren and the court he presided over? Did you know that Warren was the man who stamped okay on the internment of Japanese-Americans so California agribusiness could take their land? The United States was founded on genocide and slavery, nothing ever genuinely changed, and the corruption and violence of the past were allowed to continue unabated until we arrived where we are today. If Americans would come to grips with their past, we might have a different future.

      • Frank Lambert
        December 13, 2023 at 19:33

        Susan, I agree with you and vinnieoh on the crimes our government committed since Day One, but other things were different back then compared to now, as I’m not just talking about war and crimes of aggression other things which I won’t go into, but a lot of folks in my age group feel as I do.

        Truman was not a bright man and was influenced by some nefarious, evil-minded people and followed their suggestions. I didn’t know that bit of info about Earl Warren.

        As for our so-called and corrupted “two-party system” I left the DemoRAT Party in 2000 and never regretted it. And the Repulsive Party is even worse than the phony DemoRATS.

        All empires eventually collapse from within, and some are conquered by external forces. The courageous Scott Ritter has a good article about the Pentagon budget which is destroying our country, as you already know.

        Thank you for your input Susan. I do appreciate it.

    • J Anthony
      December 13, 2023 at 05:29

      Unfortunately it is. I think they just hid their atrocities better while your generation was coming up.

    • XPat Paula
      December 13, 2023 at 07:20

      Michael, you just never noticed. Obviously, as children we—at least the privileged among us—don’t know the evils perpetrated by the adult world.

      The US has been conspiring, fomenting, infiltrating, surveilling, spying, bombing & killing since the end of WWII.

      You & I grew up sometime since then. Nothing has changed, except that we grew up.

  11. Tara
    December 12, 2023 at 06:16

    Thank you, Caitlin. This is no paltry offering. It speaks to the very Soul of Humanity.

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

  12. susan
    December 12, 2023 at 06:00

    Amen, Caitlin…

  13. James White
    December 12, 2023 at 04:52

    The phrase ‘bear witness’ is defined as giving testimony or evidence as at trial. But I see a deeper meaning in the words. To many of my friends and family, my frequent complaints about the now steady stream of Psychological Operations from our government, also known as lies are seen as disruptive or even unbalanced. As an adult with a rational mind, I cannot sit idly by while massive lies are being spread. In particular, the kinds of lies being told about the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. Those lies shield the facts and the truth about the needless killing of masses of people. What is more relevant in our lives than the cynical destruction of so many people and the endless grief of their loved ones? The cloaking of mass murder under the thinly veiled excuses offered by the Biden Regime are a constant outrage. Here is SECDEF Lloyd Austin introducing Zelensky yesterday: ‘Mister President, Ukraine’s fight for freedom is one of the great causes of our time. And the United States is proud to stand with you. And make no mistake. America’s commitment to supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression is unshakeable.’ Note how General Windbag purports to speak for all Americans. The reality is that more than half of Americans no longer want to spend more debt by printing more money to fund Zelensky’s white whale quest. Many of us simply want an end to the slaughter. We also oppose the indiscriminate murders of non-combatants, mostly consisting of women and children in Gaza. Bearing witness means facing the facts. Whatever lofty excuse is offered, killing is murder.

  14. firstpersoninfinite
    December 11, 2023 at 23:45

    Well, that was tremendously beautiful, and possesses the hard thought we must all bring to this crisis of cremated innocence. I won’t say anything else, because you’ve really said it all. Thank you.

  15. Wayne
    December 11, 2023 at 23:10

    All said very well, I will not look away!!

  16. Renate
    December 11, 2023 at 20:50

    Caitlin, you are not alone, many of us are with you.

  17. Chas. Fredricks
    December 11, 2023 at 18:55


    Powerful. Moving.

    Thank you.

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