Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Sorrows of The Time

She is smiling into my eyes beaming her baby teeth at me.  Her saliva is running from her mouth.  I just fed her a quarter of a grape.  I look into her deep brown cheerful eyes and I wonder, when was the last time that mother fed her baby a piece of fruit?  Is she lactating still?  Or she has lost the magical power to the sorrows of the time?  After all she was forced out of her house.  She grabbed whatever she could thinking mainly of her little one, leaving her life behind to shelter in a school.  There are 50,000 of them.  How many schools are there in that tiny strip?  I wonder how they bathe, how they eat, how they feed their children.
Then I look into my daughters eyes.  Still smiling.  Oblivious to all the sorrows of the time.  My son is playing "Transformers" on the other side of the living room.  He shouts "I am a tank now".  I walk to him and hear myself telling him: "my dear son!  If there is one word I would use the word 'hate' to describe my feelings toward, it is WAR.  I hate war.  And everything associated with it.  Tanks.  Guns.  Fighter jets.  So do me a favor and do not talk to me about your games related to any of these words."  He looks into my eyes with disbelief.  I am sure he didn't anticipate such reaction from mommy.  I kiss his tanned face and walk back to the kitchen.  Pondering on the events of the days.
I was listening to NPR yesterday when a David guy and a Mark guy were discussing the events of the region.  David was saying how they were using people as human shield.  Mark responded "with all your equipment it is hard to imagine you wont be able to differentiate four little boys in shorts passing a ball at the beach".  I found my body in physical pain listening to the discussion.  How calm David was in describing their killing civilians as "defending".  How calm they all are in defending themselves.  I turned off the radio and a few hours later, browsing the news increased my pain.  I read in Huffington Post:  "Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch called for the Israeli military to 'end unlawful attacks that do not target military objectives and may be intended as collective punishment or broadly to destroy civilian property.' "

gaza mourning
Heartbreaking Photograph Of One Father's Grief Reveals The Real Cost Of Violence In Gaza

I look at this father's teary eyes, wailing at a loss, and I wonder, did he pass him the ball himself?  May be he cheerfully sent his nine year old off to play at the beach with his cousins.  May be he didn't kiss him in his rush, thinking there would come the sleeping time and he would kiss his son's eyes tucking him to bed.  Alas.  He kissed his corps instead just a few hours after, before they poured dirt on his body, burring his young corps too soon, too innocent.

As God is my witness, I am not thinking about this man as a Palestinian.  Nor do I think about his faith when I think about this tragedy.  In fact, I don't care.  I don't care where he was born, to which family, to which faith.  What I care about is the fact that he is a man.  He is a father.  He could be Muslim or Jewish.  God knows, it doesn't matter to me his faith. What matters to me is his heart, his soul, him being a human being.

Then I remember an article I had read a few days ago in Independent with a picture of an Israili parliamentarian beside a picture of another young body slayed.  Her eyes have hunted me in my dreams, just click on the link to see them.
"She is young. She is pretty. She is a university graduate and a computer engineer. She is also an Israeli Parliamentarian - and the reason why I am on the brink of burning my Israeli passport." ... "A week earlier, just before 17-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair was snatched and burned alive, Shaked wrote: “This is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. The reality is that this is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started it.”

They started what, I wonder.  Remember early on?

As far as I can see, they accepted you.  They gave you refuge. You were supposed to live together, as some of you had for centuries.  But no.  You didn't honor the kindness.  You didn't honor them accepting you.  Perhaps you never accepted them in the first place.
I don't know all the details of course.  I know they are claiming that they are defending themselves and their settlements.  However, looking at this map only and only, I think by myself, who is defending and who is attacking?  Imagine that you gave refuge to a family and let them make a settlement in a piece of your land.  Then imagine that they start building more settlements in your land.  You talk to them demanding them to stop.  They ignore you.  You start shouting at them.  They ignore you and push further in your land and build more settlements.  You start throwing stones at them.  They respond back by firing at you.  Are they defending themselves against your throwing stones at them after they invaded you, after they built settlements in your land?  Or are you defending your land?  But wait.  You were defending your land before they were in your land.  Now you are ... defending?  Offending? Insisting?  Striving to remain alive?  I really don't know what the word is to describe this event.  By God.  I don't care if you are Jewish or they are Muslims or the other way around. It could be just the reverse and my argument would be exactly the same.

Here are some stories reported by The Guardian I didn't have the heart to read all but they made me speculate on the above scenario:
Stories from an occupation: the Israelis who broke silence
Israeli soldiers arrest Palestinian protest against Jewish settlement
A group called Breaking the Silence has spent 10 years collecting accounts from Israeli soldiers who served in the Palestinian territories. To mark the milestone, 10 hours' worth of testimony was read to an audience in Tel Aviv... Out of the ones I read in torment, this one is buzzing in my ears while I look at the shrinking map:

Nablus Regional Brigade, Nablus, 2014
"Provocation and reaction" is the act of entering a village, making a lot of noise, waiting for the stones to be thrown at you and then you arrest them, saying: "There, they're throwing stones." Lots of vehicles move inside the whole village, barriers. A barrier seems to be the army's legitimate means to stop terrorists. We're talking about Area B [under civilian Palestinian control and Israeli security control], but the army goes in there every day, practically, provoking stone throwings. Just as any Palestinian is suspect, this is the same idea. It could be a kid's first time ever throwing a stone, but as far as the army is concerned, we've caught the stone thrower."

Who started what?
It hurts and agonizes and depresses me investigating this all and all the silence against the crimes, or worse, all the supports they recieve. I am in pain and I am reminded of the below Persian poem I'm told is inscribed at the United Nations' gate:

"The sons of Adam are limbs of each other
Having been created of one essence
When the calamity of time affects one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest
If you have no sympathy for the troubles of others
You are unworthy to be called by the name of a human"

She is asleep now.  Taking a morning nap.  She has put her arms above her head, how she sleeps when she feels calm and secure.  Her angelic face is open and bright.  I am grateful for her calm.  Then I think about that mother.  Where does her one year old sleep these days?  Is there a baby mattress at the refugee camps?  It must be noisy there.  There must be explosions happening around everywhere.  How do they cook?  Do they have any staple?  What if the baby had a little cough?  Are there doctors around?
You poor little baby!  I hope you sleep soundly tonight!
I pray for calm, peace, love, and compassion for every little child anywhere in this World!  Amen!

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