Tag Archives: terrorist

The Middle East Inversion

10 Nov

Last Saturday’s new episode of Doctor Who, now featuring the 12th incarnation of the lone and loved Timelord, drove a bulldozer from the last demolished Palestinian home right through my chest. If you live in a peaceful, stable nation that merely exports weapons to less stable nations and cashes in on the death and destruction they sow, you may have seen just another profound speech by a fictional TV icon, on a fictional war.

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) is pointing at us.

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) is pointing at us.

When you live in Israel, or across the fence, the wall, the checkpost, you have seen your people and those on the other side. You’ve seen youngsters throwing rocks and firebombs at soldiers and settlers, and you’ve seen soldiers shoot those kids, you’ve seen settlers attacking soldiers for failing to shoot and kill those kids, you’ve seen those kids’ parents drive into a crowd or stab a passer-by. You’ve seen bulldozers razing the homes of a terrorist’s family – not the terrorist’s home – and you’ve seen crowds shouting for bloody revenge.
And if you’re not completely jaded to what’s happening all around you, a bus ride from your doorstep at most, it hurt. It hurt having the Doctor pointing at you, your people, your government, your friend with that army-issued rifle or that home-made firebomb. Your cousin who takes the order to bulldoze the home of a terrorist’s mother, when nowhere else in the civilized world, family would be punished for their kin’s deeds. Your brother driving that borrowed car into a flock of children.

But while you may know those who do the deed – the Israeli soldiers, settlers, bulldozer drivers, the Palestinian stabbers, bombers, road ragers – you never know who they’ll hit. Does it feel right to know it’s none on your side? Or do you just feel numb, knowing at least you won’t be mourning anyone, for now? Is it not being someone from your side, good enough to sleep at night, knowing a person you know, is destroying a family who is also a person someone knows, someone loves?

Truth: You don’t know who the next Naftali Frenkel or Muhammad Abu Khdeir is going to be. You don’t know. But someone is going to die at someone else’s hand.

Consequence: This will never bring us peace. This will never free Palestine, this will never give the Jewish people a rest. You can’t expect people not to retaliate against perceived wrongs, much less when those wrongs precede a funeral. The consequence will be more death, and if one of yours has killed one of theirs, then one of yours will die. It will always be this way unless someone starts forgiving.

Two days ago, I was shopping cat food at my pet shop. The staff and I were having pizza and a laugh when the new girl got a call. There was some agitated talk in Russian, and I was just going to do an impression of angry Russian speech, when she hung up, and, staring blankly ahead, said: “My friend died.” The 20-year-old border guard, Binyamin Yakobowitz, who looks like 14 in Haaretz’s article, had been the “someone I know” of “someone I know”. You may just cringe, make a sad face, even feel a stab in your chest when you read names of casualties on your side, but you don’t know them, so you mourn them as you would Heath Ledger. Somehow you keep telling yourself: it’s never gonna be anyone I know. Yes, my friend at the pet shop told herself the same, I’m sure. Most Palestinians, those who hate Israelis, but abhorr violence, don’t want youths going out to attack soldiers or civilians, they hate hearing someone from their neighborhood has committed an attack. Not just because they know someone who isn’t the perpetrator, will suffer for the actions of the latter, but also because they might one day find themselves too close to the Israeli retaliation squad. However, they reall start internalizing how bad these attacks are, when it’s their own flesh and blood who eats retaliation. They, like us, tell themselves it’s never them, always the others. It’s always the others’ fault, and it’s always the others’ losses.

No.

We are all the others. And we never know who’ll be mourning whom next. But what we all must internalise, is that the mourning will continue, and one day hit too close for comfort, unless either of us, any of us, stop making others mourn.

Is rape not bad enough?

27 Jun

The case is reported on here:

Rape victim asks State to recognize crime as terror act

 and

Tel Aviv rape: Palestinian arrested near crime scene

In all fairness to the victim, I hope this is not going through. While I am absolutely in favor of public executions for rapists and even those who enabled them, and while I think 20 years aren’t enough, as long as Benny Jaber wasn’t screaming “Allahu akhbar!”, this is not an act of terrorism. Prove his intentions qualify as such, and I’ll shut up.

If her request is granted, she will be considered a victim of a terror attack, thereby eligible to disability benefits by the Defense Ministry.

I’m sorry, but this is ludicrous. Yes, every rape victim, no, every victim of any form and degree of violent crime, should get the maximum support. But disability benefits for rape victims who are not suffering from Aids or permanent injury sustained during the rape? I sympathize, I do. I’ve known sexual abuse myself. But I’m sick of rape victims wallowing and indulging in their self-pity to a point where they use this as an excuse to depend on benefits. I had a friend once who tells everyone of how she got raped, and she does so with a winner’s smile. Well, she did win. She is now able to get disability benefits in addition to unemployment, so she gets to sit at home all day dressing up her daughter, or getting her nails done. She pretends she would like to work and be part of society, but “I can’t, because since the rape I can’t be around people anymore, it’s too distressing”. So why can she go to crowded restaurants, parties, pubs, clubs, etc. just fine and why has she got no problem cheating on her boyfriend with 4 members of his family? I thought she can’t be around people? Or is this only the case when it isn’t fun?

Rape victims should get all the therapy and support they need as long as they need it. But while they are not responsible for what happened to them, they are partially responsible for how they decide to deal with it. They can wallow and languish, but they can also get their act together. I’ve personally been through all kinds of traumatic experiences, not only sexually. I’ve known the horrific fear of incarceration in a foreign country with a brutal jail system, with nobody telling me why or how long for. So what? This was 3 years ago; why should I mooch unemployment and disability now?

I’m sorry, but the way she expresses herself – “He murdered my soul” – is way too poetic to be sincere. When you’re truly in shock, you blurt, you don’t write deep poetry.

It’s as if rape in itself, isn’t horrific enough. No, escalate to its recognition as terrorism. This girl’s behavior is a punch to the gut of every victim of actual acts of terrorism, and every victim of rape. “Yeah, I was raped, but honestly, there’s nothing to gain from that. I think I’m gonna throw in terrorism, too so I can get better benefits”.

But while this attitude offends me, something else deeply worries me. If her request goes through and they proceed to label this as an act of terrorism without any proof that this was indeed the motive behind the deed, this will have tremendous repercussions for all Israeli Arabs and/or Palestinians. Israeli Arabs are, as it is, in a similar position as African Americans: accuse them, and they’re arrested. Suspect them, and people will believe you.
If this girl gets her way, where will it end? If Benny Jaber did not indeed mean to commit an antisemitic hate crime, he is a regular rapist. Doesn’t that make him enough of a subhuman scumbag? If his being Palestinian and the victim being Jewish, is enough to call his crime an act of terrorism, then somewhere down the line, every crime or offense committed by an Arab against a Jew, may go down the same road. Some Arab stealing a candy bar from a Jewish store, may find himself accused of terrorism and handled accordingly. An Arab pulling out of a parking space and accidentally making a dent in a Jew’s car, may find himself fucked and done for terrorism; all it takes is a good argument and the Arab’s inability to prove that it was an accident.

In the long run, this would mean that every single Arab in Israel would have to be scared of being seen as a potential terrorist or indicted as such. And since most Israeli Arabs are no better or no worse people than Israeli Jews, one has to wonder whether this one girl’s comfort is worth such a price.

I wish the victim healing, and that she gets the support she qualifies for. I wish death upon Benny Jaber as I do upon any rapist. And I wish people could stop escalating the situation between Jews and Arabs on purpose.