Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Blackbird Part 2

The next morning the sirens went of again. A rocket was heading towards us. I couldn't believe it, although I wasn't very surprised. When "tension" rises in Israel, it's a lot of this person paying for this, that person paying for that. We ran down to the bomb shelter yet again, and this time I didn't cry. I was scared and my body was shaking, but I did not cry. I was able to process things in my mind and actually think unlike the first time where my mind went completely blank. We sit in silence again. Suddenly we hear the rocket flying over our heads. "We didn't hear that last time...", I thought to myself. I wish I could describe the sound. It was like a sound effect from a cartoon or something. You know when someone lights a fuse and then two seconds later there's a cloud of smoke with the letters "KABOOM" spelled out? Well it was like that... Except not animated and when the rocket fell, it fell close. Closer than before. It was much louder. Even Doron's brother and sister, the non-rookies, acknowledged the fact that it was close and we should go further inside. After a minute or two everyone went back upstairs. I remembered a story from the day before about a group of people, in a synagogue I believe, that came out of the bomb shelter too early and a second one fell right on them. Being too afraid, I stayed for a few minutes longer, Doron and his sister stayed with me. Having the ability to think again, I did. And I thought of Anne Frank. As far out there as it sounds, that's the truth. I felt like I'm in freaking Nazi Germany circa 1942 hiding out from the people who want us to "disappear". I don't think Americans realize that this country is surrounded by people who have that same mentality. Or at least comprehend how REAL that thought is today. And at that moment, I was a target. A victim of terror. Those people want me to disappear too. We left Be'er Sheva Saturday morning. I cried in the car the entire way home.

Since Thursday afternoon until Monday, there were nearly 100 rockets, missiles, and mortar shells fired into Southern Israel. A wife lost her husband. Brothers and sisters lost their parents among others. Many were wounded and admitted to the hospital for shock. All of this, for no reason at all. No logical one atleast. Despite what you may all (those of you in the states) understand from the news, Israel did not fire first. And the airstrikes over Gaza successfully killed those responsible for the terror attacks, unfortunately killing innocent people as well because they were tactically hiding among them. After four days of hostility, Hamas declares a cease-fire even though 12 rockets were fired after the announcement. Then a PCR (Popular Resistance Committees) spokesmen says, "Long term cease-fire is impossible with the Zionist enemy". And these are the people who are going to apply for a Palestinian State in a month. I don't understand....

People said that I would grow tougher skin while living in Israel. Maybe I can now speak up to rude taxi drivers or make my way through a pushy crowd (if even that), but getting used to sirens, rockets flying over my head... I can't get used to that. There is something so screwed up about the fact that this is all normal to Israeli's, that it's a part of life here. I asked my grandmother if I should be afraid for what's to happen on September 20th, when they're might possibly be a Palestine. She said to me, "We don't think like that. If it's not something tomorrow, then it's the next day...". I also remember a few months ago there was a threat of the 3rd Antifada. Doron said to me that those threats aren't anything new. I just never heard anything about them living in the States. So Israel carried on with their day as if it were any other. The day of the threat, I stayed home. When I returned home from Be'er Sheva this weekend, I couldn't imagine going to work. I was emotionally exhausted. I couldn't stop hearing the sirens in my head. I wanted to sleep. I didn't want to be awake knowing everything that had just happened. A friend of mine said to me, "the best thing to do is to go to work". As if I had a cold or something. I really do admire the strength of an Israeli. To them, being afraid is like giving in. "Letting them win." I think its sad though that this is their reality, and I guess now mine. They don't  have a choice. However I do. I can honestly, truthfully, slightly regrettably and weakfully say, if there was ever a time that I wanted to be home in California, it was now. My skin is not tough enough and I don't want to get used to this. The sad thing is if I left, it wouldn't change anything at all.  

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