DEAR SANTA ... OR SOMEONE!
By Deb Reich (a writer and translator in Israel/Palestine)
I live in Israel/Palestine and I think I am probably addicted to the big bad conflict we have here. We all seem to be addicted to the conflict we have here. We are so used to it, sometimes I wonder if, given half a chance, we could really learn to live without it. Meanwhile, the academics study it. The politicians cook it and bake it and spin it. The pollsters monitor it. Nonprofit organizations and NGOs mop up the messes, frequently lethal, that it makes. Dissident poets bemoan it, and the journalists (with the exception of a courageous handful, who tell the truth) pretend to report on it. The prisoners find their education, for better or worse, in its shadow, while the wardens find some kinky pleasure there, or anyhow their paycheck.
Dear Spirit of Love,
Or whatever your name is - get us into rehab, quick! We need help! We are massacring the neighbors - we are killing each other here. People are besieged, shot, bombed, terrorized, and I swear, some folks justify this. They justify it. How sick is that?! We need help! Most of us want to stop the killing but we don’t know how. Help!
I am a Jewish freethinker in Israel. (Sometimes I write “in Israel/Palestine” because it seems to make more sense, but we won’t go into that now.) I have a question. If Jewish renewal in Palestine after a thousand generations is visionary and noble, why is the idea of repatriating the displaced Palestinians after a mere fifty or sixty years seen as delusional? I don’t get it.
I have an acquaintance, a Muslim, whose brother is a political prisoner. He’s been in prison in Israel more than twenty years – nearly half his life. He went into a cell at age 25, waving his banned manifestos; that was in 1986. Soon, he’ll have a Ph.D. and I think he’s starting to lose his hair. He writes eloquent essays in prison and works on his research. I’d like to play him Libby Roderick’s anthem of the oppressed, “How Could Anyone,” beginning: How could anyone ever tell you / you were anything less than beautiful? Tell me what else I can do for him. How will this balance ever be restored? How will this debt ever be paid? His name is Walid Daka. He belonged to a banned organization, and maybe he helped to plan violent acts of resistance; I don’t know. But I think his real crime was being born Palestinian, because all the rest followed from that.
Come back! We need you! But don’t come back as a woman, they won’t listen. Don’t try to come back as an ordinary Muslim traveler on an airplane, God forbid – they’ll arrest you at the airport. Don’t come back as a foreign (guest) worker: they’ll take your passport and lock you up. Don’t come back as a cabinet minister because, inside of a week, you’ll start to care more about keeping your car and driver than about comforting the poor and afflicted. Better to stick with the donkey, like last time – but don’t try to cross a checkpoint with it; they’ll think it has a bomb in its belly and they’ll blow it up, poor critter. I read the other day that there are over 500 checkpoints on the West Bank now; hard to believe. That’s a lot of checkpoints. So maybe come on foot. Or get Scotty to beam you over here. But come quick! We’re sinking. And whatever you do, don’t go to Bethlehem this time. It’s under siege and crumbling, but the people are incredibly resilient. They’ll break your mortal heart.
Taken from this site.