Monday, November 9, 2009

Sometimes It is Hard...

The more I read, the more YouTube footage I see of home evictions in East Jerusalem, Israeli police and settlers mugging for the camera, smiles, self congratulations in the face of exiled Palestinian families, the cries of women, the confused and frightened looks of the children, the peace observers, mostly women, shoved aside by the young men who are cloaked in national power, guns slung over their shoulders, men too young to have seen the Polish families moving into the homes of Jewish families carted away by the Nazis, the sense of righteous reclamation as Jews were cleared from neighborhoods of Europe, their property, their dignity, their claim to a family history denied--but I will say the words we are not supposed to say. That these soldiers, that these settlers with their bully boy struts, remind me of those Nazi soldiers, those gentile victors who trampled over the evidence of other lives, I as a Jew say Israel, the nation state, has granted unquestioned power to bullies to destroy Palestinian lives, daring the world to stop them. And like once before, so many turn their heads and hearts away, this time not in deference to a mad man but to a nation state that hides behind our history of suffering to mask its own growing fascism.
The image I share with you is of a paperbark tree on my street here, filled with the late afternoon sun of early summer. The bark of this tree hangs in shaggy wide strips that are soft white inside, like leaves of a manuscript. I sometimes collect the shed pages and pile them up on our veranda, the pages of a ancient book or one to be written. This light so filled with the dailiness of natural beauty that has been occurring on this continent for thousands of years is the counter moment to the brutalities I saw in those YouTube eviction films. Palestine/Israel too has a lovely ancient light that is now a silent witness to how terribly we fail our humane hearts.

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