Monday, April 28, 2008

This is not the sort of thing that fosters peace

Miyasar Abu Maatak gathered her six children around the breakfast table this morning, like mothers worldwide do every morning, before sending their families out into the world. But Miyasar Abu Maatak's kitchen table was in Gaza, where the only guarantee is that everyone is in peril pretty much every second of every day.

As the family ate breakfast, their house exploded, killing the mother and four of her children, one an infant, only fifteen months old.

Palestinian witnesses and the IDF offer differing accounts of what, exactly, happened to level the house and kill five innocents.

Palestinian witnesses insist that a shell fired from an Israeli tank struck the families dwelling, and the IDF insists that an Israeli tank fired on and hit two militants who were carrying heavy arms, and when the shell hit them, the ordinance they were carrying exploded, blew back and destroyed the house behind them.

But does it really matter how their house exploded?

Not so far as I can tell. A mother and four of her children are just as dead, and two more children are gravely injured and if they survive they may have significantly compromised quality of life, especially in a troubled community like Gaza. It doesn't matter whose arms killed them. Do you think that the grieving father and husband, who escaped death or injury by virtue of running an errand to the market, cares whether the explosion was caused by an Israeli shell directly, or indirectly? His children and his wife are gone. In less time than it took for him to run an errand, his life is upended, his heart not merely broken, but shattered.

What the fuck does it matter which finger-pointing thug is right?

A thug pointing the finger is still a thug.

And what the hell else do you call anyone, no matter which fable they embrace so fervently they can easily kill the "other" and call it collateral damage? You have two warring factions with no regard for civilian lives who have the pat response when something like this happens that "we have to retaliate against (circle one) Hamas terrorists/Israeli aggression."

I am just so fucking sick of this. I have been wailing about it since 1983, when I walked into the membership warehouse on Speedway in Tucson with my friend Linda Kovacs, to learn that the barracks in Beirut had been attacked between leaving home by the back gate of Davis-Monthan and arriving at our shopping destination. I could not leave the bank of teevees - one of my husbands best friends from highschool was a Marine in Beirut. The last time we saw him before departing for D-M, my husband, upon learning he had enlisted in the Marines in 1982, said "I hear Beirut is lovely this time of year." That was a tense 24 hours before we heard from his mother that he was okay.

Almost 25 years of wailing in grief and working for peace, still to no avail.

Can we listen to Moishe Dyan yet? You want to make peace, you talk to your enemies, not your friends. We know this to be true. Why the fuck, all these years on, do we still refuse to listen?

Although I am perhaps the least religious person you will ever encounter, I close this post with a prayer for peace. Oseh Shalom, Gaza.

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