Sunday, January 4, 2009
I have many opinions, most of them conflicting, regarding what is happening in Gaza right now. But it is important to remember that the problems there are not limited to the present military campaign that no doubt has been broadcast into your living rooms over the past many days. It is one tragic and confounding event within a long succession of similar events, dating back to the pre-state period.
Instead of however offering my own opinions now, I've inserted some comments that others have shared with me. I have edited them slightly, by leaving small sections out that were either difficult to understand linguistically or would reveal the identity of the person quoted. We are all familiar with the rhetorical political ping-pong connected to this conflict. And so instead, I ask you to try and suspend your judgement and your historical knowledge for a few moments while you read and to try to slip into the emotional mind set of the authors of the following lines:
"A lost cause
Suddenly everything about life becomes nothing but either existence or death, and it is all death that we see popping from TV screens. People still having chances of survival, losing it with lack of any help, no medical resources or any kind of appropriate help.
Scrutinizing human lives being lost while we watch, a whole world watching, and still Palestinian factions fighting and arguing over who is what, and Israel announcing this is the beginning, and Washington asks Israel to avoid civilians and Hamas victoriously announces a death of an Israeli, and we keep roaming in this cycle of death.
Our death and their death...
Two hundred Palestinian souls for one Israeli soul, how cheap our souls are and how expensive theirs is.
And our leaders and theirs, using out lives to endorse their agendas. As if people's lives are the sacrifice to their politics. As if we do not exist. Hamas announcing that resistance is ongoing, of course the sacrifice is those people who are being collected in cars like rice sacks.
The world cannot see these people any more, our leaders do not see them. People only transform, onto numbers.
It is so heartrending to witness, human lives being hovelled, with disregard to human veracity.
Shame on us who watch. Shame on us for looking into the tragedies of life and moving as if it is nothing except another episode of that is natural in life.
Resistance is something profound, even sacrificing one's soul for a cause is even more intuitive, but our cause is a lost cause, a cause lost between Palestinian factions and Arab acquiescence, under an enormous force of domination and despotism, higher in power than ours within our meekness and fragmentation.
Today Hamas is threatening, and we know, and they know, that the only asset have is the loss of those lives. As if these people are wiling to sacrifice those poor people until the last person. as if Gazas asset is with the people Hamas is willing to sacrifice.
I wish, God is really up there just sending us any message telling us that all what we have is down here.
Hamas is using ht e same ways of Iraq, but they ignore the fact that we know, we know the Qassam, who cares if they fired 60 or 6000 missiles when the are more peaceful in their effects than their announcements.
And Fateh s calling for the release of their prisoners from the Hamas prisons,
And Egypt condemning Hamas for not listening, and the Arab foreign ministries will set their emergency meeting after six days.
And the number of people killed increase.
And we are still scrutinizing.
Israel justifying its actions, Palestinians mitigating theirs, and victims are falling down.
In a world of injustices, yes, it appears that our victims are dissimilar than theirs; apparently an Israeli soul is more, much more, 200 times more important than a Palestinian soul.
Those children running for their lives, rushing in streets from schools, with death surrounding them from everywhere.
Those wounded victims, who could have survived of they were properly moved out, those still missing under the rubble of the attacks, those packed in hospitals waiting in a station for a closer stride up to paradise.
Is it resistance, or is it a waste of lives.
perhaps this is how all occupied nations resisted, maybe this is how Omar Mukhtar led his revolution, and all resistance groups did. But at some point all was too faraway.
Too far from seeing it all to thump from our living rooms, it was all too far from our current present and becoming a just so close yesterday.
For more lives to get lost, for what,
Even the occupation is left behind in all this scene of cruelty.
And it doesn't really matter to any further extent,
Those lost lives,
For which cause have they been sacrificed?
It is all nothing but a lost cause.
I add on, to this state of loss, some words written by Edward Said maybe to add some light to this darkness:
"Consciousness of the possibility of resistance can reside only on the individual will that is fortified by intellectual rigor and an unabated conviction i the need to begin again, with no guarantees except the confidence of even the loneliest and most impotent thought that 'what has been cogently thought must be thought in some other place and by other people.' In this way thinking might perhaps acquire and express the momentum of the general, thereby blunting the anguish and despondency of the lost cause, which its enemies have tried to induce. We might well ask from this perspective if any lost cause caver really be lost.""
And here is another response to the situation in Gaza:
"I think that it has been clear that one of the guiding principles in the work I do has been my willingness to expose the complications and layers of truth which exist in every situation we encounter. For me, education, good education has always involved giving plenty of room to the other voices around me as well.
Your screens will be filled over the coming days with people attacking us in Israel for using our military might against the people of Gaza. You will see countless pictures of civilian casualties, and many will actually be civilian casualties. You will see scenes of homes destroyed and farmers fields in ruins; and over and over again the narrative you will be told will include the phrase 'disproportionate response'. Israeli casualties, and I know sadly there will be Israeli casualties, will be dismissed as soldiers who die in war, something perfectly normal in a situation of conflict, you will be told.
And you will be helped to forget that this conflict, this awful conflict which will take the lives of many who are non-combatants, is the result of a group of ruthless terrorists who are so determined to destroy is, so caught up in their fundamentalist version of the world, so sure that Allah will lead them to victory just as he lead the prophet Muhammad to victory also most 14 centuries ago, that they are prepared to sacrifice their own people in a scenario which can only lead to death and destruction for so many of the Palestinian people.
No one will make mention of the over 8000 missiles launched at the civilian population of the south of Israel. No one will make mention that even as Israel was pounding military targets fro the air, close to 300 trucks were crossing the border from Israel to bring supplies to desperate Palestinian civilians. No one will mention that Israel's blockade was put in place as an alternative to military action to try and get the message across to the Hamas as they continued firing rockets at Sderot and the kibbutzim in the area during the 'ceasefire'. No one will mention that 690 people from Kibbutz Kfar Aza fled over the last week as the could no longer deal with the rockets falling around them all the time during the 'ceasefire'.
We too deserve to live in peace without the threats of rockets aimed at us for the sole purpose of destroying us because the fundamentalist ideology of the Hamas does not allow for Jewish State. As much as we want peace, and as much as don not want my son to ever be on the field of battle, my sense of who I am and my sense of what I am entitled to after such a long and complex history will not allow me ti turn the other cheek we the first one gets slapped to hard.
If I had a magic wand, i would wave it and ensure that not one innocent Palestinian civilian gets caught up in the cross fire. unfortunately, such wands do not exist so I will trust that the IDF will do its best to avoid casualties to civilians and at the same time I will stand by the ethically sound position which places the lies and well being of the young men we send into battle as the first priority in this situation of conflict.
So, this rant is I suppose to ask you to understand our situation this evening, or at least my understanding of our situation(...). I believe that all people who believe in an open and free society where terror is not allowed to determine how we behave, we all have to in our little way fight that terror. As Jews, we have always been commanded to choose life. I urge you all to do that both my Jewish and Gentile friends,and for those of you who pray, please pray that this conflict ends with as little loss of innocent life as possible, on both sides. "
I will be returning to Denmark next week after having immersed myself in this society for five months. When I return, I will be taking a piece of Israel home with me, with all of its complexities, beauty, idiosyncrasies, double standards and energy.
Please post your comments.