Meanwhile, in IsPal
(Written in fragments in my notebook since late June, my Great Aunt’s passing, and the murder of the four teens)
Once permission has been given to the Destroyer, it does not differentiate between righteous and wicked.
(Bava Kamma 60)
This is not silence.
My city is bleeding, hurting, hating. It’s impossible not to feel it. A line was crossed one too many times and now we are all stand on the edge of it, aware or unaware to the abyss gaping beneath our feet, shouting at the people standing beside us and to the others that seem to stand at the other end of it, in front of us: shouting about themselves, about ourselves, about “the others” (whoever they might be). Shouting about history, about mythology, about lies, armies, power, PTSD, inequality, death, life, hatred, faith, “casualties”, anxiety. There are some very explicit and anatomical curses in there, too. Turn anywhere and you will be bombarded with immense and almost-meaningless streams and rivers and oceans of information and opinions about all of the above.
This is week four of the war (by any other name…), and it seems like I can’t breath regularly since the about day four of it. And I’m on the lucky side, the rich side, the “safe” side.
But this is not silence.
The God-awful gaping abyss of hatred and loss of all that I consider to be human scares me more than the war, more than the sirens that keep me alerted*. And every action from every side seems to cause a reaction that only deepens it. If I seem quiet about this unnecessary war, it’s because I don’t want to feed it.
But this is not silence. (Shush, I’m trying to think in all this noise).
This is thinking, processing. This is reconciliation. These are numbness and hurt about what is happening around me, to people, to Israel, to Palestine, to Jerusalem. Sometimes, in what seems to be like an endless celebration of abyss that gapes between the humans of this city, Jewish and Arabs, Muslims and Christians, religious and secular, I can hear from time to time other voices, if I listen very carefully. Voices that try to amend, to built bridges over this abyss. To breach this nonstop meaningless news cycle that is nourishing it.**
So I am listening, overwhelmed. I feel a shift, and there is nothing I can do but pray that that shifting is not another widening of the abyss, but a true shifting of mind, or another breach of the noise that contributes to it.
I think of the Israelis who responded to the murders by saying “we were hurt, let us grieve” and demanded an end to revenge. I’m thinking of the Jews among them, descendants of almost 70 years of education that burnt into their consciousness and flesh that they must fight if feel threatened, the “this must never happen (to us) again” ideology. I think of my mother, second generation to refugees from Germany and Lebanon, who still feels like the existence of Israel depends on its constant fighting. I think of my family, my great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers, and my grandmothers and grandfathers, who became refugees and settled in another country – most of them in this country – because of racism. I think of the 3,000 who marched in Jerusalem just before the war started, crying out against bloodshed.
And all of this takes place before I turn to think about the unfathomable destruction of Gaza.
This post is not about Gaza, but by all means, feel free to donate:
* A very partial list of sounds that I’m constantly thinking might be sirens in the past month: bus and car engines; motorcycles; water pressure in my shower; some music.
** Speaking of which, I :Dear foreign friends and media, I am really fond of you and I would like this war to end too. However, trying to implement U.S.-centric racial critique is not the way to end the war. It’s just the way to make hundreds of thousands to headdesk and/or think you’re imperialist/antisemite.
Speaking of which, II: I think I found The Fake Israeli Activist (shout-out to the Fake Geek Girl): I’ve been reading people on Twitter who think that Israeli and Jewish activists are nothing more than a dangerous distraction to the things my country is doing. Since they are usually serious and intelligent people who don’t think of the world in black vs. white terms, I want to give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they have been fed with too much information and opinions. Still, I would like to use this blog post to assure those people that I never went to an anti-war/leftist/feminist demonstration or volunteered my time, talent, and money to a list of leftist/feminist causes in order to “distract” anyone about the idiocy of my homeland, nor make them feel better or more just about Gaza, Israel, or Palestine.