Friday, March 07, 2008

More School Killings

This is not the Red Sea. It's the Mediterranean. The Gaza Strip and Israel share the beach.

The killings are in Israel this time. My cell phone rang and rang as I saw patients yesterday. I knew. It was my mother wondering. Which Yeshiva, exactly, is it that Little One attends? (In her defense, the names of the schools do sound alike sometimes).

I heard about it from a patient. She came in for her appointment strolling her baby and told me, 8 students murdered in a Jerusalem seminary. I gasped and got on-line (what would YOU do?), cried for a moment, controlled myself, stifled what I wanted to say, Animals. Or maybe I said it.

I know the school. A friend of mine teaches there. I know the neighborhood. I have cousins there.

What gauls me, believe it or not, is the celebrating of death in the streets of the Palestinian territory, the Gaza Strip. What is this? How does an entire people celebrate the deaths of students, the deaths of the innocents?

They dance, they say, because these murders are retaliation for an Israeli military operation in Gaza in which Israelis targetting terrorists. The Israelis, once known for espionage, assasinate known terrorists. It is the only way they know to win this war. Otherwise it's back to destroying empty buildings again.

But CNN tells us:
. . .Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, told CNN he saw no connection between Thursday's shooting and Israel's operations in Gaza.

"This is not a story of retaliation," he said. "These people have been terrorizing Israel for years, have been carrying out suicide bombings and indiscriminate attacks for years."

Gillerman said the Security Council should condemn the attack. "They they are so, so quick sometimes to criticize Israel for defending itself. I would like to see those members convene as we speak in order to condemn this in the strongest possible terms."
FD said to me when I picked him up last night, "A copycat of the Northern Illinois University massacre?"

Except that I think Kazmierczak was mentally ill. These Palestinians are homicidal. If the man who murdered children yesterday had been taken alive (and there is no one thinking that ever possible, this was a suicide mission) he would go to jail. Kazmierczak would get medication and a very long stay in a hospital.

Our story is like this. When the Jews fled Egyptian slavery, the Egyptians, sorry to have ever let them go, chased after them.

The Jews reached the Red Sea. The bravest jumped right in to swim across, but the Old Mighty, impressed with his bravery, parted the waters for the rest of the nation. The Jews crossed on dry land and the Egyptians followed, but The Old Mighty released the waters, let the Egyptians drown.

The Angels began to sing at the deaths of the Egyptians. The Old Mighty got angry and chastised them. "My creatures are dying and you sing?"

Sure, you can say, That's just a story.

But it's the way we think. The Jewish people don't sing when people are slaughtered, not ever. We cry when people die. I believe, when it comes down to it, most of us don't feel good about the assassinations of terrorists, either. We wish it would all stop.

May the mourners be comforted in the Gates of Zion.



Anonymous said...

So easy to comment when you talk about Juno. So difficult when it is real children, dead from insane, centuries-long hostility. If we would all wish it to stop, and hold our own hands from participating...

Mark said...

Lovely post. There is always saddness when people are wronged and that is as it should be.

Sai Hijara - Ferraris said...

Sorry to hear this...and my prayers to the family of the victims.

You have said everything nicely...and I'm still dumbfounded on the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

I find it impossible to follow politics, but I whole-heartedly agree with: "We cry when people die... We wish it would all stop."

Hear! Hear!

Anonymous said...

I share your sorrow over the senseless deaths of these young people. But I also wonder if it is possible that some terrorists are mentally ill people, too. This doesn't excuse them for what they have done, nor make me feel sorry for them. But it seems possible that some or many terrorists might also be mentally ill.

Emily said...

(I apologize if I submitted my comment twice, I got kicked offline and wasn't sure if it worked)

I saw that today on the front of the NY Times, it made me sad. A lot of things in the world I feel sad about, and there's absolutely nothing I can do, and I wish there was, I honestly honestly do, so I just try to positively influence the people in the world I do come in contact with, and the kids I work with at preschool, and I do what I can to help the world, and the peoples of it, even down to small things such as buying "fair trade" food when it's an option, so that some farmer can feed himself and his family.

Most people in the world don't care about things as much as they probably should. Like today, when I was sitting in social psych waiting for class to begin, I had just been reading the NY Times, and this girl who has been in previous classes with me, so I kind of know her...well I was talking to her about that shooting that happened at that yeshiva, because she was looking at the picture on the front, and she was just disinterested and stopped listening. Nobody cares about things that don't immediately effect them, or people just hear about shootings so often that it doesn't phase them.

This is going to sound like a sweeping generalization...but yeah...unfortunately, most people are too wrapped up in their shallow, materialistic existence to be able to reach out to something bigger, something that hurts; to be able to open themselves up to that and exhibit some sort of humanness in the face of brutal honesty about the happenings around us. People are afraid to feel. People want to block out anything not glamourous and euphoric. They let themselves be desensitized, detached, and most people succeed at that awesomely. I don’t understand how a person can do that, and be able to feel a sense of purpose, and not feel completely selfish or question his or herself. I don’t understand why people don’t care, why people go to such great lengths to avoid caring, or thinking.

Ok, I'm done now, I apologize for my comment being a novel.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing about this so movingly. I will never understand how people can celebrate the murder of children. I hope I never do.

therapydoc said...

It's just incomprehensible.

The Rebbetzin's Husband said...

Is it incomprehensible?

Sadly, I don't think so. I think dehumanizing an enemy, as they do, makes it entirely, sickeningly, comprehensible. They don't see us as human beings.

therapydoc said...

See, as a person who is always looking for the motivation, the reasons, who is forever giving the benefit of the doubt, I find THAT incomprehensible.

Leora said...

I had the same response as your mother. "which yeshiva was that?" My husband knew exactly which one. He had attended classes there, long ago.

My creatures are dying and you sing?
Very important concept. Kind of what separates us from animals.

To Anonymous who said maybe the terrorists are mentally ill: the whole society is sick. What kind of society teaches kindergarteners to hate. And uses their children as human shields.

Jack Steiner said...

I stopped looking for reasons why these things happen. The reality is that they are and they continue.

So now I ask that we demonstrate our resolve with an answer that they understand. Force, violence, murder and mayhem.

Not because I want to sing or celebrate their death, but because simply put if we do not they will not stop.

We need to re-establish fear of reprisal, deterrence.

And later on we can revisit peace talks, but not now. Not for a long time. For now we must protect ourselves.

  Bring them home, the Homeland Concert There's not much to say. Wait, I take it back. There's SO much to say it is too much. There ...