Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Saddest Day.

I've been forwarded another email telling a story from on the
ground in Gush Katif. If you think you can stomach it, go
ahead and read.

The Saddest Day.

This has to be the saddest day I’'ve known. To be here in
Eretz Yisrael is like being in some bizarre fiction flick.
So many have davened, protested, traveled to be in or near
Gush Katif, marched around the Temple Mount Gates, the Old
City Walls, crying and beseeching Hashem to intervene, to
stop this insanity, to end this evil. But the heavens are
as brass. It'’s the 11th hour and the heavens are as brass,
only scorching sun beating down upon the Land, adding to the
physical misery of the residents of Gush Katif.

I just got off the phone with Chaya, who has been in the
thick of things in Neve Dekalim for the past two weeks.
This afternoon she called me sobbing, as people around her
began, in resignation, to pack up their most precious
belongings.

Tonight, her voice is empty, hollow drained from weeping
through Minchah as the people of Neve Dekalim took upon
themselves the dual weight of submitting to Hashem'’s
Sovereign Will, whatever comes next, while simultaneously
pouring their souls out as water, pleading for G-d'’s
intervention, hanging on to every minute thread of hope they
have left after the events of the past two days. The word
is that the troops will move in at midnight to remove the
families from their homes.

In most of the homes, parents are sobbing as they pack bags
of possessions for their children and themselves. In other
homes, families are loading their belongings into the huge
moving containers sent in by the government to evacuate them.
In still other, more militant homes, battle lines are being
drawn.

Chaya was at the gate of Neve Dekalim this morning. For an
hour or so, there was a standoff between the residents/
visitors and the soldiers/police. Then standoff gave way to
protest, but, Chaya tells me that the protest was not a
protest that the residents wanted.

They had made their plans of non-aggressive resistance at the
community meeting and yesterday, at least, their strategy
seemed to make an impact. The protest this morning, which
evolved into violence, was initiated by some of the visitors
who had come to help, to stand by the residents in a show of
solidarity.

Solidarity gave way to independent reaction this morning.
Tragically, young people and children were caught in the fray,
as were the visiting women whose emotions and reactions had
gotten the better of them. Inflamed by the melee, the police
began to force their way into the community. Soon they were
running, four abreast, encircling the individual moving vans
as they pushed through the community streets, in a weird and
sickening dishonor guard of black-suited SWAT officers.
Resigning themselves to their apparent fate, most of the
residents went home to pack.

Cries, sobs and shofarim were the voices of the community
Minchah this afternoon. And still, as yet, the heavens seem
as brass. G-d in Heaven, why must these righteous people
suffer for the sins and the rebellion of others? Why must
evil and a cult of murder be allowed to continue, to increase
their appetite for Jewish blood by this massive heroin-like
dose of gratification being delivered to them on the hearts,
homes and back-breaking labors of the residents of Gush Katif?

When I returned home this afternoon, I found a notice amongst
my emails calling people to the streets in protest, to major
intersections, to the Old City, to the Temple Mount, to the
major highways. Pulling my “"Jews don'’t expel Jews”" T-shirt
over my head, I turned about and headed for the main
intersections in my neighbourhood. As I walked the length of
Emek Rafaim in the German Colony, I was the only speck of
orange around. The intersections were devoid of protestors,
only café-sitters dotted their pristeen corners.

A few people hissed at me as I walked along, their blue
streamers brashly blowing in the wind. One man even laughed.
How sick can society get?

Returning home, I called Chaya in Neve Dekalim to get the
latest update. Each time I call, I hold my breath, expecting
the promised termination of phone services to the area to have
taken place. What does one say to someone in such a place, in
such a situation?

How does one possibly commiserate? Getting off the phone, I
sat down to write, the least I can do to share their pain. As
I sat writing, my summer roommate and her visiting brother
arrived. Her brother, a nice young man, inquired if I would
like to go to see a live comedian with them this evening. I
explained that I really don'’t feel like humour right now. He
looked askance. We talked a bit, then he asked me why it is
that I am so upset. “I just got off the phone with a friend in
Gush Katif,” I answered. Looking quizzically towards his older
sister, this pleasant 20-something Jewish man from the USA,
asked, “What'’s Gush Katif?”

Need any more be said?

Ashirah

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