Tag Archives: zygon invasion

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.