Alive and, well…

I couldn’t stomach the Simple Life so instead I switched to a special about Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. That sentence could have a deeper meaning, couldn’t it?

Since moving here, I try not to drown myself in Israeli or Palestinian sorrows too often. It’s hard, but I’ve become better at not reading beyond the headlines when the headlines read the words “Hamas,” “IDF,” “victims.” And it’s ok, because even if I don’t read the papers through and through, I can’t help but be aware of what is going on in the tiny space that surrounds me. There is only so much one can bare – at least, one who hasn’t spent 100% of their life in this situation.

This means that a lot of the time, I steer clear of overdosing on specials about Palestinians prisoners in Israeli jails, interviews with Israeli terror victims, shows about Seeds of Peace and especially – the news. I think it’s a lot easier to make your life about being pro-Israel and conflict resolution and defense when you’re far, far away from it and your biggest crisis is figuring out exactly which campus organization put up the pro-Palestinian posters at 6 a.m.

When you live here, Shihab missiles penetrate your conscience and the word ‘threat’ is worn out within a couple of months. You open your bag before walking into malls – even when you’re back in the States for a two-week visit.

And when you watch a program on Palestinian prisoners and consider how closely the one on the left looks like your coworker/makolet guy/cousin, well, you’ve got no choice but to take a second look. And then the Palestinian prisoner’s kid is holding a bag of Bamba while visiting the father he’s met twice. Kinda screwed up, right?

I’m incredibley tired of being told what reality is, by people in jail or people visiting the people in jail or by the parents of victims or by politicians or by documentary filmmakers or by campus collaborators or by the 11:00 newscaster or by little old ladies waiting for the bus.

It doesn’t mean I’ll ever escape that, does it? Not as long as I live here; not as long as I’m alive anywhere else.






  1. yudit Avatar

    On the one side, and as someone living here, in the Middle East, i can very much understand your wish to detach yourself from it all, live in a bubble so to speak. Not read the news, not wishing to know all details of what is going on. Perhaps, based on that horrid feeling there is very little we simple people can do about that messy quagmire aka the Middle East.

    Yet on the other side it upsets me:
    Not reading the news, making an active effort not to know about the infringements upon human rights (on both sides) , the violence, the disregard of human lives etc.

    Perhaps (and i do not wish to accuse you personally, again, i truly can understand not wishing to know it, for once feeling a little relaxed)it is because so mnay of us want to live in that bubble, it can go on.
    We don’t do enough to end the conflict.

    I sympathise with your feeling about people abroad having strong opinions, often not being aware of the true dynamics of what is happening here and not really having a clue about the complexity of finding a true solution to the problems in the Middle East.
    there is no “quick and dirty”, and one cannot solve a problem by creating another huge problem. Itis indeed very easy to put up a poster or two, being absolutely sure “you know what is right”, when you’ve never been here, lived here and experienced what it is like.

    But isn’t that why it is so important to stay connected?

  2. eliesheva Avatar

    You’re right.

    But I don’t live in a bubble. The point is, I never could, even if I really wanted to or tried.

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