FANTASY LIFE

Here is a fantasy I have about a beginning to the end of the war in Gaza:

Ten thousand Israelis gather lots and lots of foods, including portable water tanks, and slowly march south towards the Gaza border, currently a “closed military zone.” Internationals arrive in the Tel-Aviv airport and quickly join them.

As they approach checkpoints they are told to stop, but they continue on, overwhelming the barriers, because there are basically too many of them to stop. As they walk further south, they are joined by more and more people carrying more food. They include medics and journalists.

As they approach the border they’re met by masses of soldiers, including tanks, and ordered to go back. They refuse. The soldiers argue with them, they take a few aside and argue some more, warning of violence on the other side, invoking fear and demanding respect for military authority.

No one backs down and the soldiers are perplexed. What should they do? The marchers are Israeli like them; they may be from their own family, their own town or city; they may be their own friends. Israelis don’t normally disobey military commands, but the soldiers can’t shoot them.

As they wonder and puzzle it out, get in touch via cellphone with commanders back north, the masses of people go through the border and enter Gaza. And from the other side, masses of people meet them: Men looking to immediately unload the big crates of food that comprise flour, rice, beans, and oil, women carrying babies and filling up jugs with water, and hungry children carrying pots and pans and clanging them in delight as they’re given snacks, candies, biscuits, even chocolate. Medics attend to the ill or those showing signs of malnourishment. Tents and blankets are given out.

The Israeli/international group has memorized greetings in Arabic, and these are exchanged, including blessings for Ramadan. The giving out of food goes on for several hours because the quantities—and the needs—are so great. People communicate in words, hand gestures, facial expressions, and warm, open, unafraid bodies. Nobody is an enemy.

This arose for me as I sat in meditation this morning, perhaps because I read several days ago of a small convoy of Israelis bringing food, including a professor who said: “When children go hungry, you must bring food.” They were stopped at the first checkpoint.

But 10,000 people? 100,000? At some point, they break through. At some point, there is a breakthrough.

While I greatly admire Gandhi, I never quite bought into non-violence as so many others have. This time it feels different because the violence is so vile, so massive, arbitrary, and beyond all reason.

Dire warnings arise inside right away: They’ll kill them as soon as they cross the border, maybe take more hostages. Another voice: Really? What benefit would it bring Hamas to show the world that it kills civilians saving Gazans from hunger?

But what about Islamic Jihad? What about others who have weapons?

Inside I hear the jeers and the verbal darts so many are ready to throw: The police will stop them using the big water cannons used on anti-government demonstrations in Tel-Aviv. Nobody will go because it’ll be seen as a betrayal of their soldier sons. The government will stop internationals as soon as the land in the Tel-Aviv airport and put them back on the plane; it’s happened before, they’ll do it again.

 Worst of all is this: What do you know about threats, fear, and violence, living in a springlike western Massachusetts? What can anyone like you do? Go back to reading the papers and maybe sending out a few small checks.

The Gorgon rears its many heads. What are their names? Cynicism, Disapproval, Passivity. The biggest one is called Be Realistic.

What would I do if we ignore the monster and do it anyway? I’d hop on a plane and join them. A plane ticket is only money, and if I die in the venture, well, I’ve lived a terrific 74 years. The only thing I fear is the future, if someone ever looks at me, locks eyes, and says: So where were you when thousands of innocent people died of bombings, hunger, illness, and exposure? What did you do, other than writing?

            Donate to My Blog                Donate to Immigrant Families

You can also send a check to: Eve Marko, POB 174, Montague, MA 01351. Please write on the memo line whether this is in support or immigrant families or of my blog. Thank you.