Monday, August 3, 2009

The Tragedy of Israel, of All Our National Violences

A letter received, August 3, 2009, after the attack on a gay youth center in Tel Aviv:

I just wanted to share with you that my boyzfriend and I are taking this especially hard because we were physically attacked ourselves a month ago when we went to support the pride parade in Jerusalem. A group of young boys were actually sitting in the streets waiting for the queers to pass by after the parade. My boyfriend, me and 2 other friends (a dyke and a transsexual woman) were attacked for passing by in the "Holy streets" and looking nothing like the normal passers. It was not serious physically, but emotionally it was shocking and horrible.

We have been through a really hard time after that and had trouble going out without being afraid, but we got an amazing support from our community (at least from most of it) and we just stated feeling better, but now with the shooting I am back to being afraid to leave my house.

Usually, I am going to demonstrations and very active in the community, but until recently I was fighting for "others," less fortunate, and couldn't imagine something like this happening. It is the worst feeling--not fighting back for myself, but I just ran out of strength. If you consider in the past few months, we heard about more and more violent attacks that didn't register anywhere because it was only beatings which on one reported, it's not a total surprise. I am sorry for not having more comforting news. Love, Y.

So much I wanted to tell you of, it has been a long while, but first today, my words of solidarity with the Queer community of Tel Aviv, of Israel, with the queer community of the world--we know in our hearts daily violences contort our lives in every corner of this world, and that violence, the armed expression of hatred, flourishes as both a national policy and a private hell for those deemed not fully human. My friends in Palestine/Israel, my peace activist friends, have known for a long time that the violence of the occupation, its checkpoints and house demolitions, its forced evictions and impenetrable walls, its injustices piled on injustices, like crumbling homes, cannot be contained. Like soldiers returning home from war who turn their killing ways on their wives and friends, violence as national policy opens the home streets to blood letting of all sorts-if you hate, if you see an unrighteous enemy, blow them away.

To the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer community of Tel Aviv and Israel: We are standing with you in solidarity in this time of great sadness and mourning. We joins thousands of Queer people and others around the world who refuse to let hatred destroy the beauty of human love. From Alex Nissen and Joan Nestle, Women in Black, Melbourne, Australia

I want to say that I carry always in my heart the young gay people I met in Israel in 2008. I saw your beauty of body and heart, and to think that such courage and hope should be so endangered deeply saddens me but I know our collective strength.

I think of the recent propaganda campaign by the Israeli government to paint Israel as the gay loving country of the Middle East, I think of the furor in the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade when dissenting queer Jews refused to wave the distributed blue and white Israeli flags as they marched in the Jewish contingent and instead held signs questioning the morality of the occupation. The internal conflicts within Israel about what is a human life reveal what seeps through armed walls and the guns of soldiers, always powerful, focusing on the nationally hated other, the Palestinian. Dissent, queerness, the naked body--now more then ever.

1 comment:

esther said...

Beautiful Joan,
in the hardest of situations your words always find a way to cut to the heart of things. I love that you won't let one injustice overshadow another.

xx e