Monday, December 30, 2002

What is blogging?
Blogging is making my thoughts and feelings public. This is not easy.

Blogging is attempting to clumsily put into words the sadness I feel when I open the newspaper in the morning and seeing the faces of four young boys smiling up at me. This is very difficult.

Blogging is also not writing things. One of the things I don’t write is a question constantly in my mind: Am I sad and angry because of their pain and that of their families or am I sad and angry because of my pain?

Naturally, all this is not very interesting for anyone but me.

Blogging is also being attacked on my comments by a person whom I have never met or heard of before, because while I was being sad looking at those four young faces, for whatever reason, I wasn't being sad about the two Palestinian children who were also killed over the weekend.

I just don’t have the energy to deal with being attacked anymore.

I want to curl up with a nice book and read it from cover to cover in one sitting. I haven’t done that for months.

I think I need a break from blogging, too.

The thing is, I am sad about those Palestinian children, Kalle Westman. I am deeply saddened by the suffering of the Palestinians. I often think of the Palestinians I have met in my life, and I wonder how they are getting along. I am sad, no, I am much more than sad, I am heartbroken that my dream of coexistence and peace was shattered in September 2000, when the Palestinians, having turned down the best offer they could possibly have hoped for (had they really meant to make peace), turned to violence in the hope of getting more.

Go away and leave me alone, Kalle Westman. Go back to your orderly world of good guys and bad guys and simplistic ideas of justice for the world’s oppressed. You may mean well, but your good intentions could very well leave my family and myself homeless and defenseless, if we’re lucky enough to live that long. Not that that would bother you. We had it coming after all, especially my seven year-old.

I am too weary to care what people like you think, or have to say, anymore.

I don’t know how personally involved you are in this conflict, Kalle Westman or how the outcome will affect your life. For me, the Palestinians are not some faraway victims of heartless oppression; nor are they symbols of an heroic struggle for world peace and justice; they are not an exotic people fighting a wicked, cruel colonial power that is out to annihilate them, either.

The Palestinians are my neighbors, and I am fond of them, as one is (or should be) of one's neighbors. I am sorry that they are suffering and I am prepared for painful compromise, as one is (or should be) with one's neighbors.

Up to a point.

If my neighbors interpret my generosity and openness to compromise as weakness; if based on that interpretation, my neighbors try to force me to accept their demands at gun point; if my neighbors try to terrorize me out of my home (and I'm not talking about the territories) - they will find that I have ceased being a "nice" neighbor. They will find that I am just as determined and resilient as they are, if not more. They will find that I will never give in to their extortion.

I truly believed we could live side by side in peace and equality, sharing and growing together. I still hope (more than anything) that the Palestinians will put down their arms and cease their violence, and then we can once again renew our difficult but not impossible historical attempt at working out our differences peacefully.

Until that time, we are at war.

This war is not some sort of sick game we play for our enjoyment, as you seem to think, Kalle Westman. The soldiers in this war are protecting their homes and families (nearly all in pre-1967 Israel). And they know it. They know only too well, that if they don’t catch (and if necessary kill) that suicide bomber, hiding in that alley, surrounded by women and children, it could very well be their eleven year-old sister on her way to school in Hadera or in Netanya or in Tel Aviv who is blown to smithereens next. What would you do in their place? (Don’t answer that. I’m not interested.)

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I have a lot of sadness in my heart right now. I haven't got room in it for all those who suffer, deserving as they may be of my compassion. I know this is wrong, I know this is selfish, but this is just the way it is.