After last night’s terror attack in Tel Aviv what more can be said?
It’s the same story over and over. We are attacked and the world doesn’t care. One news outlet put the word terrorist in quotation marks, as if they are uncertain of the definition of what a terrorist is – perhaps men who shoot Israeli men and women sitting in a coffee shop, shoot them point blank are just annoyed at poor service. Or grumpy because they fasted all day while the Jews ate normally. Another headline read “3 dead in market attack,” as if the market was the Little Shop of Horrors that ate its clientele… They don’t care about Jewish or Israeli lives. What’s new?
Facebook didn’t offer a filter with the Israeli flag so people can change their profile picture in solidarity like they did after other attacks. What’s new?
Peaceful Muslims are not lining up to declare that murder in the holy month of Ramadan is sacrilege. Big shocker. This attack, like so many others before, ignited festivities amongst the Arabs of Judea and Samaria (because passing out candy and shooting in the air with joy over the death of others is so much fun…).
It’s the same story over and over and most people are missing the point entirely. Terrorism makes us stronger. We are the davka people – anything our haters want us to do, we will do exactly the opposite. Anything our haters say we can’t do, that is exactly what we will do – and better than everyone else.
I wrote the text below in 2004 and sent it to the Jerusalem Post as a letter to the editor. It was published without the poem. It seems appropriate to post this today. Absolutely nothing has changed since.
Sad & Stubborn
The tears I feel today
I’ll wait to shed tomorrow.
Though I’ll not sleep this night
Nor find surcease from sorrow.
My eyes must keep their sight:
I dare not be tear-blinded.
I must be free to talk
Not choked with grief, clear-minded.
My mouth cannot betray
The anguish that I know.
Yes, I’ll keep my tears till later:
But my grief will never go.
“Song for Petiron”
from “Dragonsinger” by Anne McCaffrey
Living with terrorism has changed me. There is a sadness in me that will never leave me. For every heart that breaks, mine breaks a little too.
And yet living with terrorism has also strengthened my inherited Jewish stubbornness. To all of those who try day after day to take my humanity away, to take my life and my dignity I would like to say:
For every future you have cut short I will plan mine. For all the mothers you have hurt I will be good to mine. I will love my family and spend as much time with them as I can. For all the sorrow you have brought to the young I will go out and enjoy myself. I will dance and I will laugh. For all the hurt you have brought to countless strangers I will be kind, patient and compassionate to strangers I meet. For all the death you have brought upon us I will LIVE.
I won’t let myself be bored. I will learn as much as I can and use my knowledge to make this a better place, if only for my close friends and family. I will take pleasure in the small things in life: my cup of coffee in the morning, my beautiful cat, a bubble bath, the way the clouds move across the sky and the shimmering stars at night.
In the face of horror I will believe in God. I know there is a God because I see the manifestations of all that is compassionate, noble and good in the people around me. I see God in Haim Smadar and Shiri Shefi, and so many others. God shines through our doctors and nurses, our bus drivers, our police officers, our soldiers, our school teachers and our neighbors.
And finally, above all, I will refuse to hate.