Monday, July 31, 2006

A Letter to B.

This very first post was originally written to an American friend who wrote me a postcard wishing to cheer me up and sending some good thoughts given the circumstances. I felt that I had to write back and illuminate the situation from my very own subjective perspective – something coming from my heart into another person's heart – nothing less and nothing more than a one woman's voice to another. Here is the letter I wrote to her:

Dear B.,
Thank you so much for your warm wishes-it really moved me. As I am writing things are not that great. As you probably heard on the news today, the Israeli Air Force is accused for a terrible tragedy in a Lebanese town (Qana) in which about 30 people were killed including many children. The horrible pictures were all over the global news media and Israel was immediately held responsible– this is a terrible thing and my heart goes out to them. Frankly, I am a bit confused right now – up until now I was confident that Israel had no choice but to go after Nassaralla and his terrorist organization. This terrorist organization, Hezbollah, has been terrorizing Israeli citizens in the north of the country for many years shooting missiles towards their homes, sabotaging their daily routine and trying to kidnap Israeli soldiers (and succeeding twice in the last years-one took place in the beginning of July which was the cause for the beginning of this war).

In the first 2 weeks of this war I found myself "glued" to the television as I could do nothing else. As the global media focused on the casualties and destruction in Lebanon, the situation in Israel has not been much better. I was saddened by the sights of Israelis living in the north of the country running (literally) for their lives. As more than 1000* missiles and rockets falling on the northern area of Israel, sent from Lebanon, my heart went out for about 1 million Israelis being forced to leave their homes to safer areas in the country as refugees. Many, who couldn't leave, had to stay in bomb shelters day and night; Shelters that some are not eligible for the presence of a human being (no air conditioners, filled with rats).

About one million people had to stop working and their whole daily routine was stopped at once. Sick people, old people, people with disabilities, children and pregnant women- were all forced to put their lives on hold for an unknown period of time – no one prepared them for what was going on and no one prepared them for the paralyzing sense of fear once a rocket hit close to their homes. I remember that Tel-Aviv area was attacked by Saddam Hussein during the Gulf war (in 1991). I will never forget how frightened I was as the many sirens went on alerting us about the upcoming missile attacks – those were a few moments that felt like eternity as one was waiting for the unknown. It felt as if no one was breathing around you. As everyone was silencing and praying for the best, even the birds stopped singing. This is an experience that makes a person older at once.

Undoubtedly, that was the scariest feeling I have ever experienced in my entire life and I do not wish to go through this again. But many Israelis have been experiencing it 10-30 times a day in the last 2 weeks. I know that Tel-Aviv may be the next target very soon and I dread it. This is so terrible for all parties and I feel sad that this is the reality around us. I feel that our lives are managed in between wars and conflicts and it makes me sad. It's amazing how people manage to go to universities, get married, raise kids, have successful careers and basically lead a "normal" life in a midst of that constant not-normal fighting atmosphere.

This is an insanity that we have to face in our lives in Israel – when will it stop? Who is right? Who is wrong? Does that really matter? Maybe it does matter to politicians, to the news media who search for "evil versus good" narratives, and maybe it matters to people who do not have to live here and face this reality. But this doesn't matter to me and my friends and I am allowing myself to assume that it doesn't really matter to the citizens of Lebanon – all we want is to resume normality that was long ago taken away from us.

Your friend,

* By Aug. 5th the number rose to more than 2500 rockets falling in Israel


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice work. Is the foreign ministry paying you? Or have they finagled work for free, again?

10:11 PM  
Blogger israeli women said...

paying? oh, i wish.... on the other hand, I'm not sure they'll like everything we'll have to say.

10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a very nice piece of post-modernism.

"Who is right? Who is wrong? Does it really matter?"... Oh, this is so confusing... All this thinking of good and bad is so hard, I've got to have another Latte to take my mind off these complicated thoughts. But with low-fat milk, I don't want to put on weight. Know what - let's bomb the shit out of more children and we'll see.

8:20 AM  
Blogger israeli women said...

I'd like to think of it as post-post modernism. i mean trying to see who or what is "right" didn't get us anywhere. and asking "does is matter?" means trying to find a criteria beyond it not the post modernist "nothing really matters". you criticize, well, that we know how to do well too. the real question is: what do you suggest? when you don't want to kill, but reality becomes "kill or be killed" what do you do, honey, retire to your latte? ever tried to shoot and cry at the same time? I've got a couple of friends who can tell you all about it, from different times and conflicts. I wish you not ever to have to live in a place that makes you experience this paradox in your heart. (Carmel)

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't imagine what it's like to have to carry this paradox in my heart. I also can't imagine why our friend "Anonymous" feels entitled to so willfully distort the clear meaning of this post.

10:57 PM  

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