Jul 11, 2014

Tears of Gaza and Women who Love Women who Love Children Who Are Not Wanted

Krivoklat Castle

Tomorrow I leave for three weeks of summer camps in the forests of Krivoklat, so there will be little time to devote to my random musings on this blog. I look forward to the camps every year for the wonderful bonding that takes place between camp teachers and the Czech kids. In my case, I get to do real theater with a group of about 12 students, aged between 14 and 18, We spend the entire week preparing a 30 minute play for presentation on Friday. It's all great fun, with lots of exciting activities in the evening - including campfires and the harrowing 'Scary Walk,' in which teachers, staff and older kids hide in the forest and scare the bejesus out of the little ones, who must follow a string and a line of candles through the forest. I always come home exhilarated and exhausted both.  

A few final comments on previous items I've posted about - forgive the lack of links.


Eyewitnesses have confirmed that Tariq Abu Khdeir was abducted from his uncle's backyard while watching the protests outside on the streets - in other words he was deliberately targeted as a member of his cousin, Mohammed's family. 

The death toll in Gaza from the recent Israeli onslaught has left 100 dead, 84 of them women and children. Prior to the death of the three Israeli teens, which so dominated the world's media, Israeli soldiers were caught on video firing point blank into a crowd, and killing two unarmed teen boys - an event that registered nary a blimp on the world's news networks. Yet this mainstream indifference to Palestinian life has been going on for decades. 

Israel’s current escalation and assault on Gaza should be viewed in the same context – a cynical attempt to distract and make the Abu Khdeir immolation lynching story disappear from headlines and memory (and to a lesser extent the brutal beating of his American 15 year old cousin Tarek by Israel’s Border Police). While assaulting Gaza’s defenseless population, Israel’s government will find itself back in its comfort zone where it will be able to take control of the narrative by having obsequious Western media outlets and politicians parrot its preposterous claim that it is “defending itself”. They will also repeat the hackneyed “what would US/UK/Canada do” line, ignoring the fact that Gaza is an open air prison for dispossessed Palestinian refugees under Israel’s control. An escalation along the northern border cannot be precluded. This is what happens when you suffer two devastating PR blows in one week.
Will the subterfuge work or will history remember the immolation murder of 16 year old Mohammed Abu K’deir as Israel’s Rosa Parks moment, the moment when Israel’s apartheid could no longer be denied? Only time will tell.
And a moving story from Haaretz about Gordon Levy visiting the family of Mohammed Abu Kdeir.
Small Shrine to Mohammed on his bed
Gordon Levy again in another Haaretz article on the Israeli onslaught against Gaza, which puts everytning into perspective, Hamas' rockets, the murdered Israeli teens, the burning alive of Mohammed and the uncountable nunber of Palestinian children killed:

Following the kidnapping of three teenaged Israelis in the territories and their murders, Israel wildly arrested some 500 Palestinians, including members of parliament and dozens of freed prisoners who had no connection at all to the kidnapping. The army terrorized the entire West Bank with a dragnet and mass arrests, whose declared aim was “to crush Hamas.” A racist campaign raged on the Internet and led to a Palestinian teenager being burned alive. All this followed Israel’s punitive campaign against the effort to establish a Palestinian unity government that the world was prepared to recognize, its violation of its commitment to release prisoners, a halt of the diplomatic process and a refusal to propose any alternate plan or vision.
Did we really think the Palestinians would accept all this submissively, obediently, and calmly, and that peace and quiet would continue to prevail in Israel’s cities?
What exactly were we thinking? That Gaza would live forever in the shadow of Israeli (and Egyptian) caprice, with the restraints sometimes loosened a bit, or sometimes painfully tightened? That the biggest prison in the world would carry on as a prison? That hundreds of thousands of its residents would remain cut off forever? That exports would be blocked and fishing restricted? What exactly are 1.5 million people supposed to live on? Is there anyone who can explain why the blockade, even if partial, of Gaza continues? Can anyone explain why its future is never discussed? Did we think that all this would continue and Gaza would accept it submissively? Anyone who thought so was a victim of dangerous delusions, and now we are all paying the price.
But please, just don’t act surprised. Just don’t raise hell about the Palestinians raining rockets on Israeli cities for nothing – such luxuries are no longer acceptable. The dread that Israeli citizens are feeling now is no greater than the dread felt by hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who in recent weeks waited in terror for the soldiers to break down their doors and invade their homes in the middle of the night, to search, trash, destroy, humiliate, and then snatch a member of their household. The fear we’re experiencing is no greater than the fear felt by Palestinian children and teens, several of whom were killed needlessly by Israeli Defense Forces fire in recent weeks. The trepidation Israelis feel is certainly less than that felt by Gaza residents, who have no Color Red warnings, no “secure spaces,” and no Iron Dome to save them, only hundreds of scary sorties by the Israel Air Force that end in destruction and the death of innocents, including the elderly, women, and children, who have already been killed during this operation, as it during all its predecessors.
Isabel and Tabra
Meanwhile, on other fronts, I'm simultaneously reading Isabel Allende's early novel Of Love and Shadows, and her recent memoir, The Sum of All Fears. In the latter, she describes the anguishing situation of her stepdaughter, Sabrina, born prematurely to her husband, Willie Gordon's drug addict daughter Jennifer.  When the courts deprived Jennifer of custody and the doctors assigned Sabrina to a home for terminally ill babies, Isabel was desperate for her and Willie to adopt the granddaughter, but Willie refused, saying neither he nor Isabel were prepared emotionally to care adequately for a child after the death of Paula. It was the worst disagreement of their marriage, and Isabel even moved out of the family house for a while. However, providence intervened in the most wondrous way. Her best friend, Tabra, had also counseled Isabel that she was ill equipped to care adequately for this baby who "needed two mothers." When Isabel told this to her support group of women friends, The Sisters of Perpetual Disorder (which she joined after the death of her daughter Paula,) and when she repeated the phrase, "the baby who needs two mothers," one of the women in the group said, "Oh, I know two mothers." These two mothers were both Buddhist nuns who ran a retreat center on the ocean. After a ten minute call, Fu said she wanted to meet the baby. After she and her partner, Grace, met the baby - 
"Grace held out her arms and Odilia handed her the baby, who seemed to have lost weight and was shivering even more than before. But she was alert. Her large Egyptian eyes gazed into Grace's and then focused on Fu. I don't know what she told them in that first glance, but it was definitive. Without discussion, with a single voice, the two women declared that Sabrina was the little girl they had been waiting for all their lives."
No wonder Isabel has such sympathy and understanding for love between two women in the face of such generosity of heart. Once again we see Lesbian women partners coming forward to love and care for the most challenging kind of child. 
Finally, River Viiperi. Mustn't forget our favorite Spanish supermodel. He's driving around in a brand new Mercedes, 'donated' to him by Mercedes Benz Esperanza, while assuring his followers that luxury does not bring happiness or love, a principle I think he truly believes. One of his favorite singers is Sam Smith and River's favorite lyric:
I don't have much to give,but I don't care for gold
What use is money,when you need someone to hold