Tit-for-tat and some tea

How can I share my feelings about the bombs and rockets and life in Gaza?

I’m so discombobulated that I don’t know the words to use . . . so I’m just going to free associate and hope it makes some sense of this senseless conflict.

I’ve never lived, or spent any time, in a conflict zone.   Everyone in Gaza has spent their entire lives in a conflict zone.  They tell me this is “normal.”  I want to scream —-“This is NOT normal!!!!!!!”

Like a bad marriage where the victim can’t escape an abusive relationship because the two are trapped and don’t know how to break the cycle of violence.

Everyone I’ve talked with in Gaza knows someone who has been killed by Israel, whether a family member, friend, or acquaintance.  One young man (in his twenties) has memorized the name, date, location and circumstances of every martyr.

I remember seeing the pictures of martyrs on the walls when I visited Gaza in 2004 and feeling uncomfortable with these images that glorified war and fighting.   Now I’ve talked with Palestinians who have explained that martyrs are anyone who has died as a result of Israel’s actions, whether in the field of battle or delayed at the checkpoint and unable to make it to the hospital in time for treatment.

We’re sitting at home tonight watching a soap opera on TV, visiting with relatives who have dropped by to share Eid greetings,  drinking tea and eating cookies.   During the past couple of days, Israel and Palestinian factions from Gaza have been exchanging rockets and bombs, a number of dead in Gaza and wounded in Israel.   Al Jazeera’s reporting makes it sound like children playing, tit-for-tat.

My young friend who lives in the north near the border said he couldn’t sleep last night because of the tit-for-tat.  He knew some of the martyrs killed yesterday.   Another young friend who lives near the border warned me last week, “don’t take your camera out and shoot pictures of the border from my house.  The Israeli soldiers may shoot back.”

Both families served me tea, a custom in every home in Gaza I suspect, which I’ve come to enjoy very much.

I don’t think the Palestinians and Israelis know how to disengage from this terror of violence.  They seem to need each other, to keep struggling and resisting and occupying.  The current generation of leaders on both sides know nothing else but violence and conflict.

If the world wants to watch this low-intensity warfare continue for the next generation, I bet both sides would be happy to keep entertaining.  This is “normal.”

But if the world thinks the occupation and siege are not normal, then WAKE UP and SPEAK UP and do whatever you can to help both sides disengage from this macabre situation.   They can’t do it by themselves.

Lora and children from an orphanage in Gaza at a book fair.

 
 

 

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1 Comment

Filed under Gaza, Israel, Israel Defense Forces, Occupation, Uncategorized

One response to “Tit-for-tat and some tea

  1. Judy Gelwicks

    What a story. Good explanation. Such a sad situation. Be safe.

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