Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kulna Gaza

I have been feeling so emotionally blank about what’s happening in Gaza. It’s been easier to read every article I can get my hands on as opposed to feel anything. I know it's how we survive when we don’t have control, creating emotional distance and analyzing the facts. But it's not facts that have allowed the ethnic cleansing and genocide to continue for so long. It is emotions. Predominately those of fear and anger.

The average Israeli citizen is afraid that they are going to be consumed by the "Arabs" that surround them. This is what their government tells them and why the majority of Israeli citizens allow their government to take more and more land from the Palestinian people in the form of settlements, to break agreements, and to kill over 800 people in the recent events in Gaza alone. And most U.S. citizens share this fear that the Arab "terrorists" are going to destroy the only people in the Arab World that look like them. Which is why we allow this genocide to continue.

And on the part of Palestinians such has Hamas, the emotion is anger. But they are not alone. It is an anger that I see when I go to protests and when I read progressive responses to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. It is an understandable feeling that I have as well.

But I am beginning to realize that underneath all of my analytical readings and all of my anger, there is another emotion that I have been suppressing: grief. This is the emotion that I need to let out and that I encourage others to acknowledge and feel as well. We human beings are supposedly civilized and yet can let such atrocities occur for 60 years despite and in many ways because of the holocaust of World War II. Admitting this fills me with such a profound sadness.

The Palestinian/Israeli conflict is very personal to me. I have written many times of when I was 6 years old, my mother would drive me past Tel al-Zaatar refugee camp in Beirut to and from school. It was then that she first explained the conflict to me and it has stayed with me ever since. One of my greatest hopes is that a humane solution for all can be reached in my lifetime. Every day that this conflict continues, I grieve. Because Palestine is not just some far away place in conflict, it is us. We are a part of it, no matter where we are.

"We are all Gaza," "Kulna Gaza," was written on a protest display of coffins on Hamra Street in Beirut this past week. We are. And that is why we must grieve. Because a part of us is dying every day that this conflict continues. Every day that another child is killed and that another doctor cares for the wounded without adequate supplies we are losing one more piece of our own humanity.

Postscript 1/12/08: My father just read this post and thinks that I am remembering the Karantina Camp near the port. This makes sense, given that I am now recalling a taxi driver this summer pointing out the spot of Tel al-Zaatar further up the mountain from Beirut on the way to Ain Saade where two of my friends live. The Phalangists perpetrated massacres in both camps with Israeli blessings in 1976. They are prime real-estate now. Its all about resources.


maceolove said...

Thank you sister for sharing and inspiring to feel. I pray that it will stop in our lifetime. I pray that it will be soon. Like in the next second. I pray that we feel with our hearts and come together as one.

glued blue glass said...

Thanks again for helping me bring at least some of my emotions to the surface, Maceo.

Leisa said...

I love this entry, Margaret. It's hard to do what you're saying. There's too much grief, and behind that grief, or in front of it, the fear of it. The fear of feeling it.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful insight. It's hard to feel, because there's so much grief. And fear of the grief. That you'll never come out of it.

glued blue glass said...

But avoiding something painful that you have to face anyway just makes it worse. At least that's my experience. Thanks, Leisa and anonymous, whoever you are :)

Sarah said...

This was so well written and impactful, thank you for continuing to bring understand around this issue to me! xoxo

glued blue glass said...

Thanks to everyone who reads this. Please, please open up your hearts and believe that we can change this. We must.

Felipe said...

Thanks for opening your heart and sharing your emotions. Indeed this atrocity brings up many emotions in all of us. I've been feeling anger, futility, sadness, and that hard to fathom - grief.

However, after experiencing these intense emotions, I'm only left with a profound desire to pray and visualize peace and oneness, which I've starting doing again daily.

Change will come, peace will rein, keep the faith.


glued blue glass said...

People enter my life for a reason. I am so glad that you are in it. Si, tenemos que visualizar la paz.

Marianne said...

Grief. Yes. I was with some friends a week ago and they wanted to talk with me about Gaza, in a very detached way, an analysis of the politics and of the stability of the ceasefire. I started to tell them about my friends in Gaza who had nowhere to take their three small daughters where they could be sure they were safe and I started crying. I didn't know it at the time but I just needed to grieve. I couldn't talk about the wrongs and rights of it any more, I needed my friends to see that this was not simply a political outrage, it was a human tragedy. Thank you.

glued blue glass said...

Marianne, there is only so much theorizing and abstraction that we can do when real people are suffering. We all need to grieve over such horror. I hope your friend and daughters are finally safe.

glued blue glass said...

Marianne, I just realized which Marianne you were! I have another Marianne in my life and it wasn't until I clicked on your name and realized that it was you! I hope you are well. I have been checking out your new blog but not consistently. Much love, Margaret