July 18, 2014

What is harder than dying in Gaza by a missile?

These are the days of miracle and wonder. Sons and daughters announce engagements. A grandchild is born. We celebrate each new day, life and all that it brings.

These are also days of unimaginable horror. Planes fall out the sky. School girls are kidnapped and never seen again. Villages are destroyed to be made anew for someone else. How do we begin to understand this seeming global madness, especially when we have so much to celebrate?

Into Israel rockets are fired by Hamas. The Israeli government responds with a massive campaign. In some cases, earlier in this war, the IDF gave advance notice to civilians; that their homes were about to be bombed. One should leave if given that kind of notice. Advance notice that is perhaps worth celebrating in a strange sort of way.

Mahmoud Jouda, a Palastinian in Gaza was interviewed by the Institute for Middle East Understanding and gave a much different perspective on a lifetime worth celebrating each and everyday. But for the advance notice...
I’ll tell you what is harder than dying in Gaza by an Israeli missile deluxe.
What is harder is that you get a phone call from the Israeli army telling you to evacuate your home because it will be bombed in ten minutes. 
Imagine; ten minutes; and your whole short history on the surface of Earth will be erased. Gifts you received, photos of your siblings and your children (dead or alive),
things that you love, your favorite chair, your books, that last poetry collection your read, a letter from your expatriate sister, reminders of the ones you loved, the smell of your bed, the jasmine tree that hangs off your western window, your daughter’s hair clip, your old clothes, your prayer rug, your wife’s gold, your savings;
imagine; all this passes in front of your eyes in ten minutes, all that pain passes while you are struck by surprise.
Then you take your identification papers (passport, birth certificate, etc.) which you have ready in an old metallic candy box,  and you leave your home to die a thousand times, or refuse to leave and die once.
These are the days of miracle and wonder. And don't cry baby, don't cry. And then again...

Lyrics from The Boy in the Bubble by Paul Simon (1986)
Photo by Jim Murray.
Copyright 2014.

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