The Post of a Newborn Radical

Sometime last week I realized that I no longer have any truck with anyone who kills other people. I don’t care who you are, what your history is, what land you think is yours, what happened yesterday or 2000 years ago, or what orders you are following. None of it matters. You kill someone, the blood is on your hands. Killing is a personal thing.

The only thing that matters is that the number of human beings who justify killing others, especially children, must be marginalized. Put them all together on a large ship, give them a small island-less section of ocean, take away their arms, drop them protein bars, and let them growl at each other. No outside connection. We, the rest of the world, don’t want to hear from them.

Returning to the personal: We don’t want to hear how moral you are, how you are forced to defend yourself, how your religion is the true religion, how other people are savages who offer up their children to your bombs, how it is the other people who are racists, how vengeance is called for, how you have no choices.

We also don’t want to hear you yelling at children at borders to go away, or how you must defend your right to have guns, or how poor people are freeloaders, or how health care for everyone violates some rights you construed from a piece of paper written over 200 years ago, and we don’t want to see you parading around with assault weapons over your shoulders in grocery stores or anywhere else.

We – I, at least – don’t want to hear it, see it, smell it, touch it, or be killed by it.

We might drop you bags of chocolate in our relief to have you where you stop harming other people.

It’s possible that nothing I said above was politically correct, but to be totally clear – I’m willing to take the minority that has been killing Syrians, re-butchering Iraqis, kidnapping girls, shooting passenger planes out of the sky, imprisoning journalists and human rights advocates in multiple nations, slaughtering Gazans, and, yes, sending missiles into Israel and I would put them all on a boat. A caravan of boats if necessary, but definitely under siege with no possibility of getting out. It seems to be a fashion.

We could even drop in movies for them to see. Things like “Rambo” and “Apocalypse Now”. They’d like that.

Then we could love and care for each other across the borders. Can someone explain to me the purpose of borders? I don’t get it anymore. Suddenly borders make no sense.

We could have peace and help each other. We could have safe food, equitable opportunity, art, music, dance, education for everyone – and what is the thing again about dinosaurs being in the garden of eden or something like that? We could reinstate science and learning as having dominion over fantasy.

We could save our damaged planet with sustainable fuels and care for our animals. There is no reason, no God-given or human-given reason why we cannot have peace. NONE. It is all a farce, it is a charade propagated by people who do not know that they are the problem.

I want all the religions – if they must exist – to share their sacred temples and sacred books and for all of us to wander amongst each other like it’s one big happy picnic. Some hummus, some wafers, some incense, a few cows strolling about, some holy-rollers – probably no live snakes.

I want the haters to go away. It would make it so much easier to love them if they weren’t constantly harming us and others.

We could provide lounge chairs, even wet suits, snorkels. They could face off with the sharks just to keep their hand in.

Let them bore (perhaps “boar” is the word) each other with their rhetoric about how they are more justified in hating others while simultaneously being more righteous than others. Let them all grow beards.

Oh, now that’s interesting. I have pictured them all as men. Bet you did, too.

Or maybe it’s not interesting at all.

What’s really sad is that they would all think they were there by mistake. But you and I wouldn’t have to know about it. We would be at the picnic creating beautiful lives together.


. . . then someone took my balloons

Approximately 12:15 pm yesterday I locked my Lexus hybrid in the underground parking garage of the Giant food store at Van Ness center in Washington, DC. I then opened the trunk with the “power door” button on my key to get my recycle bags, remembered I didn’t need them, and closed the door. After all, I was only getting helium balloons for my grandson’s 7th birthday party today. My daughter said this was the place.

She was right. The balloon selection, immediately inside the door, was great. I bought five in solid colors – red, blue, orange, purple, yellow – with large white polka dots and the words “Happy Birthday” on them. I also bought two large metallic balloons in multi-colors, one of which was 3’ long and shaped like a trumpet.

I went directly to the checkout counter and back to my car. This is where the trouble began. My keys were not in my small purse. The car was locked with my smartphone sitting on the passenger’s seat.

I tied the balloons to my car door and retraced my steps to search where I’d been – with two clerks, the checkout person, and a couple customers. Then I went to the “Solution” counter, i.e. customer service. By the end of the day I made four more trips to that counter to see if keys – a large clump of keys – had been turned in.

The first taxi driver

Around 1:15 I hailed a taxi to take me home to get my emergency key – a flat key that snaps into a plastic form about the thickness of three credit cards. I had had this key for five years without needing it.

It was the worst taxi ever. Filthy and smelly with a 5”-wide swatch of exposed electrical wires at my feet, banana peels between the front seats (amidst who knows what else), no a.c., and the little passenger television that has continuous loops of inane quizzes with plastic-looking t.v. hosts was on full blast. I interrupted the driver who was doing his own loud unending loop into his ear phone to turn it off or down. He said it was broken and could not be turned down or off. I told myself this is heaven compared to Gaza.

Once home I got my emergency key and we returned to the car. (I would have taken another taxi except there are no taxis right where I live.)

Back to the car

The emergency key did not work. Even though it was labeled with my name, it belonged to a Lexus I sold five years before. Presumably the owners have the emergency key I needed.

I went outside to catch a second taxi to take me home again to find a spare key that I have been vaguely aware that I hadn’t seen in a few weeks, but it had to be somewhere, right?

Arjuna, or the second taxi driver

Arjuna drove the second taxi. Arjuna, named I presume after the converser with Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, was my angel. His cab was spotless, air conditioned, and we said “How are you?” at the same moment and laughed. This, I thought, is the opposite of Gaza.

Arjuna also had surround sound phone speakers that I ended up using a lot. But I’m getting ahead of the story.

Arjuna started praying for me that I would find my spare “regular” key. I ran into the house and went through every little box and pencil cup I had, plus several purses. His prayers were not enough. There was no key.

I sat in front of my house in Arjuna’s cool crisp taxi and tried to collect myself. The numbers of the people I needed to call were, of course, in the memory of my iphone locked inside my car.

But, smarty under stress that I am, I remembered my daughter’s number and called her on skype from my ipad. No answer. She was at her aerial class. My daughter does acrobatics while hanging from large ribbons. I texted my plight. She texted back with the 800 telephone number of the “help me whenever wherever” desk at Lexus, and Arjuna called them on his surround sound phone. So nice.

The “help me whenever wherever” desk couldn’t locate me or my car – common name, various moves, no vin number –  but let me know that my regular roadside assistance with them would have expired after four years.

Arjuna dialed my friend Mike for me (number supplied by my daughter down once again from the ribbons), who called Tony my accountant and then called me back. No, I did not have roadside assistance coverage with my car insurer.

Arjuna drove me back to my car and assured me that God was watching out for me: “Think of all the real suffering in the world. This is just a bad day.”

He then called two locksmiths to compare prices. Who knew that locksmith companies use the same free-roaming people to unlock locks? They network, and they get angry if you call more than one place. They call you and ask “How many locksmiths did you call?” and if you don’t give the right answer, i.e.“Only one other and I want you, and you alone” they hang up on you in surround sound.

Yvan drove up around 4:30. Arjuna handed me off to him with tenderness and care.

Yvan, the locksmith

I jumped in the passenger seat of Yvan’s van with “Locksmith” written on the side and we turned into the parking garage. First step: push the button to get the ticket that will lift the arm so you can enter. Instead Yvan turned to me and said, as closely as I remember: “Hello, I’m Yvan, I’m Israeli, we’re not going to pay this.” He argued with the man in the cubicle but eventually took a ticket.

His next words to me were “What do you do?”

I felt myself flinch slightly and edge to the door, “I started a peace organization.”

Yvan: Oh, so we’re on different sides. . . . he smiled.

(How, how, how is this happening?)

Me: I don’t know.

Yvan, as we turned the first corner going down: Are you Jewish?

Me: No, but I marry Jewish.

Yvan: You marry Jews?

Me: Yes. My car is over there.The one with the balloons tied to the door.

At the point where Yvan set off the car alarm in the unsuccessful attempt to open the driver’s door, he shouted, “This is nothing compared with the noise in Israel right now.”

(I tell myself I will say nothing about Gaza until he gets my car unlocked.)

Me: I guess not.

Yvan: I was in the Israeli military for three years.

Me: Oh. (Anyone with experience with the Israeli military would already know this – the shaved head, posture, health, and strength. It’s a look. The abruptness. It’s a style.)

Yvan – Hebrew for “John” – did get the passenger door open. I retrieved my phone, which had 12% battery on it. There were, as I was 95% certain, no keys in the car.

Yvan was about to leave me standing, after I paid an exorbitant amount, by my dead car with the passenger door open (he said if we shut it, it would lock again) when he said, “Where do you want to go?”

Me: I don’t know. I need a moment to think.

He looked closer at me: I don’t have any other jobs in line, I could take you home.

Me: Oh, so now you’re the nice Jew? (Yes, I really said that.)

He laughed. He took me home, though not without arguing with the man in the cubicle and somehow distracting him on a related subject, and when we drove out without paying he said – I swear – it works if you just distract them.

Yvan called towing services. The first company hung up because he wouldn’t tell them what kind of car I had on the theory that they would charge more for a Lexus. With the second company he told them it was a Toyota. They said they would be there in an hour.

One hour gave me time to get home, get 20 minutes of recharge on both my iphone and ipad (taking no chances), quickly walk my dog, call the Lexus drop off place, and get a list of food items for the birthday party to my daughter since I was failing miserably at this responsibility.

It also gave me time to challenge Yvan who was intent on convincing me how compassionate the Israeli Defense Force is, and how all of Hamas wanted all Israelis dead, and how Hamas targeted civilians but Israel warns people before bombing.

I said: You are missing information. Do you know 10 or so Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military in the month or two before the three settler youth were kidnapped and killed?

Yvan: That’s not true.

Me: Yes, it is. There are videos of two Palestine young men just walking by Ofer prison – you know, where the prisoners are on hunger strike – who were killed by snipers. It’s all on the video, they were just walking by, no one else around. Killed, dead, down.

Yvan: We don’t have snipers.

Me: Okay, prison guards then, the guys in the towers at Ofer.

Yvan: So what were these guys doing before then? What were they throwing? They must have done something.

Me: Nope, want me to send you the video? They were just walking by, not even looking up. You see them hit. They’re not talking to anyone. No one else was around. They’re walking next to the prison wall at about the distance from where you’re sitting to that tree.

Yvan: Sure, send me the video.

Me: Okay, you let me know what you know and I’ll let you know what I know.

Giving him credit, he did bring up that he understood that Israel had taken “their” land and that resentment was justified. He also seemed to like Fatah in the West Bank and made sure I understood his father’s very best friend lived in Jenin. His father is a mechanical engineer and they had some business together. (I did not bring up the ongoing weekly nonviolent protests against the occupation in Jenin, but did say “business together is the fastest road to peace.” He shook his head yes.)

I ran into the house and returned to give him a copy of the book “Sixty Years, Sixty Voices: Israeli and Palestinian Women” in English, Hebrew and Arabic. (Get it at Amazon.) I tell him, “I was the editor, photographer, and primary interviewer.”

Yvan: Wow, this is a real book.

Me: That it is.

Back to the garage

At 6:25 my daughter and son-in-law took me back to the Giant grocery store, before going on to a party. She went in with me, to the Solutions desk, then the garage.

I said: Someone took my balloons! Someone took the balloons! They were tied right here, right here on the door. Someone took them!


At 6:45 Lee pulled up in front from District Towing. I rode with him pass the man in the cubicle. He took the ticket with no hesitation.

Lee: Where is your car?

Me: One level down. It had balloons tied to the door, but someone took them.

Lee, seeing the car: My boss said it would be a Toyota.

Me: The call was placed by the locksmith. He might have been confused. (Yeah, right.) Are you going to be able to get it out of here?

Lee: No problem.

I adore Lee. We talked about the amazing technology of modern day towing, how the little towing wheels go under the car’s back wheels and pump them up, and how it all clicks into place.

Me: Any chance you’re going through town?

Lee: Sure, need a ride?

Me: Would love it.

(I contemplated asking him to wait while I ran inside and bought more balloons, but figured he was being too nice for me to ask for anything more.)

7:15, walking home

Lee let me out a few blocks from my home. Such a beautiful summer night. My car would be going around Dupont Circle as couples strolled hand in hand and ate at outside cafes.

I let the balm soak into me. And, once home, I went out again with my dog who like me was slightly crazed, and I thought of the bombing and killing of people far away and so very close.

The birthday party

We had 15 children and 14 adults here this morning. There were no balloons, but my grandson didn’t notice. He was happy and surrounded by his best friends – I didn’t know he had that many, and he taught me how to play “Ghost in the Graveyard” where if the chosen “ghost” looks at you, you can only breath, sneeze, cough, or blink, or you become a ghost’s helper.

Twelve miles away my Lexus has a note on it with my name, telephone number, and the words “NO!!! Keys.” I expect to hear from them tomorrow morning.

The pain in the world right now, the violence, the imbecilic belief that there are reasons to kill other people . . . I am haunted. All those people praying to stay alive, to keep breathing, sneezing, coughing, and blinking, and not become ghost’s helpers. All those people.

A Death That Knocks First

[Moments after I wrote this blog, I received word that Egypt was working to negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine. The first deadline for that ceasefire passed as of this morning, July 15. I am sharing this blog as originally written with the undying hope the violence will end. At this point the word to me is that Hamas is reluctant to agree without guarantees of the opening of the Rafah gate between Gaza and Egypt (which seals them off from the world) and the release of the more than 500 Palestinian men arrested in the past three weeks.]

. . .

God speaking, Isaiah 55:3 – Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.

The third slaughter of Gazans in under five years is happening now. The total number killed in Operation Cast Lead – what the Arab world calls the Gaza Massacre – in the first days of 2009 was around 1400, the majority of them women and children. Thirteen Israelis were killed.

The number of Gazans killed between November 14-21, 2012 in Operation Pillar of Defense was 168, the majority of them women and children. Six Israelis were killed.

The last total I saw for the number of Gazans killed so far in Operation Protective Edge is more than 170 (plus another 1000+ injured), the majority of them women and children. Netanyahu says that with “this kind of enemy” Israel will take any means it needs to defend itself. So far no Israelis have been killed. If they do a ground assault, there will be Israelis killed. It is a guarantee. Everyone is crazy.

Thanks to Facebook I have seen things – body parts, emptied faces and skulls, spilling guts – that will never leave my mind. Ever. I do not regret it, I want to see it, but so far I have not reposted these realities of death as an explosion that tears your body into pieces on FB, and I will not here.

Seeing these things – the redness of blood, the same redness of everyone’s blood, flowing over the grey of concrete reduced to a powder that covers even the body that still bleeds – I am shocked to see my immediate world look the same as always. There are birds in my garden, photos of loved ones on my desk. I have a piano, it is intact and can be played.

People walk by, eat in restaurants, laugh. The world has become surreal, a stage of normalcy while on the other side of the scrim people kill each other. It is not just in Israel and Palestinian, it is many places, but this is the barbarism that has delivered itself to me in video after video at my door.

The IDF and Israeli citizens – the majority judging by what I see – say: “We warn Gazans where we will strike, we give a “knock” ahead of time with a warning shot. We are humane. Hamas is not humane, they don’t warn us where the missile will come” This is posted in varying ways as though it makes sense.

NOTE 1: the IDF only gives warning “knocks” sometimes, and when they do, it provides only a teeny window of time for everyone to evacuate that building before it is destroyed. A “knock” is a smaller, presumably non-lethal bomb launched to a rooftop. That is, the occupants hear of the impending destruction of their home, if not members of their family or themselves, a minute or two in advance.

In one video I saw the “knock” hit one building but the real-deal bomb landed next to that building where the people would have evacuated. Deliberate? I don’t think so. I think the IDF really thinks they are humanitarian by sending warning “knocks” – and pamphlets telling people to flee before the ground invasion. They even occasionally call residents in a building and tell them in Hebrew (huh?) that they have five minutes to flee. Of course, this method of protecting people is not fail safe. Extended families are being wiped off the map.

NOTE 2: Hamas cannot give warnings because they cannot pinpoint their missiles. Hamas launches missiles that go more or less willy-nilly, which along with the effectiveness of Israel’s anti-missile system, Iron Dome, is why to date not a single Hamas missile has killed an Israeli or seriously injured one. Iron Dome has been 90% or more effective, fortunately, in shooting down any missiles coming to populated areas inside Israel.

I am not saying Hamas operatives are, or are not, humane. I am furious that they used funds and time and energy and intent to obtain missiles instead of strengthening the infrastructure, health care, facilities, and education inside Gaza. I understand the boycott on materials, but they got missiles in. I understand the isolation, containment, limitations, and humiliation. Or maybe I don’t. No, of course, I cannot, I have no idea. But to use what little you have to bring in missiles is, as I see it, wrong-headed, even unconscionable.

I think the people launching missiles from Gaza would kill many Israelis if they could. Yet, I do not believe it is sufficient grounds to kill someone – and the innocents near them – on the theory that they would kill you if they could when, in fact, they cannot. There have to be more clever, not to mention more ethical, ways to disarm someone’s desire to kill you. Being a good neighbor for one.

The underlying fault line of the “right to protect yourself” argument is that, when you apply it equally to Palestinians as well as Israeli, the whole premise is exposed as absurd. It is an invitation to cyclical slaughter. It has no applicability towards peace. It shows no inclination towards the creativity, healing, and courage needed to achieve mutual beneficial peace. (It is, bottom line, why most women are better peace builders than the many men who believe bigger and harder is the answer to everything.)

NOTE 3: There are demonstrations against the assault in the UK, Belgium, Australia and elsewhere, and even inside Israel. Haven’t seen anything much in the US.

I have been inundated emotionally and psychologically. I have precious friends – Palestinian and Israeli – who are too close to danger, including Rula Salameh, whose article as a Palestinian mother living in East Jerusalem was in the New York Times last week.

I have read article after article documenting in detail the sequence that set off this opportunity for Netanyahu to continue to destroy the peace process (even Kerry placed the blame at his feet), to destroy a unity government that would have brought Hamas into a moderate coalition with Fatah and the West Bank, and to further weaken Gaza.

For one thing, the Israeli authorities knew within hours that the three kidnapped settlers were dead. They had a phone tape of the shooting and the boys’ blood was found in the kidnappers’ abandoned car. Yet for a week, even without telling the parents, they used the excuse that they were searching for the youth to arrest and imprison more than 500 Palestinian men, demolish and invade homes, have confrontations that led to several Palestinian being killed, and to stir up – unleash? – hatred against Palestinians. It didn’t take much.

Among the things I will never forget are the videos of young Israeli males in the streets of Jerusalem chanting “Death to Arabs” and stopping taxis looking for Palestinian drivers or passengers to beat up. My friend Rula told me by phone that she is scared. This is a woman who has maneuvered me in the West Bank, without bothering to comment, around IDF gun shooting and tear gas. She has a television program on which she sometimes calls Palestinian Authority ministers on camera to help out people in need immediately. She has nerves of steel and decades of experience.

Now she is scared. She lives with her parents and son in Beit Hanina in Arab East Jerusalem only two minutes from the home of the Palestinian boy who was kidnapped and burned to death. Her son is the same age. She told me Israelis are beating shopkeepers.

What can one say? How does one say it? If bombs don’t bring peace – they don’t – then can words?

This crisis has taken me to the Bible, a place I have not visited since I was in high school.

God speaking, Isaiah 55:11-

. . . so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

He’s speaking presumably to the Jews, and He states that He desires a place that will: bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater.

He – I’m ceding to the masculine just to be super-nice – says: Isaiah 55:9 –

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Are we not to emulate God’s ways, to take the high road?

The hatred I am seeing on Facebook, from people on both sides, is essentially telling God to go to hell. There is a valiant minority – and oh the courage and oh the grief – that calls for an immediate ceasefire and for listening to each other, for tending, for examining one’s own culpability.

We must watch our words so that they are as free as possible of self-delusion, so that they recognize that we are equally human, and so that they have the intent of peace.

I don’t think a “knock” before you bomb people is Yahweh speaking. I don’t think Hamas launching missiles into Israel is Allah speaking.

If our words truly were emulating God, they would be for peace and caring and forgiving and getting our facts rights and not deluding ourselves about our favored status and not denying harm we have done.

Then God says, if you are good boys and girls: Isaiah 55:12 –

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

I read this as that to deliberately kill someone else is to deny the God you profess to worship.

And, yes, I know that both the Koran and the Torah can be interpreted from select verses to encourage you either to fight or to reach out in peace. Shouldn’t we choose the verses that bring good to the world – ourselves and others?








Does Gravity Have Weight? Or when will insanity stop?

My six-year-old grandson knows the important questions:

“Gramma Trisha, does gravity have weight?”

Me: “I’m not sure. Why don’t we look it up?”

“And if light has weight.”

Me: “Right, un-huh, that too.”

Well, I couldn’t decipher all of the Google entries and complex formulas re gravity having weight, but the consensus seems to be that gravity does not have weight. So that is what I told Ben with the caveat that we might find out in the future that it does have weight.

Also light does not have weight, except – oh, yeah, those photons when light is being particle and not wave – the ultimate morphing job. So it gets wobbly, but I told Ben that most people believe light does not have weight but maybe in the future we would find out that it does. I give the future free reign to surprise us all, hopefully for the good.

It’s not that I think that public opinion about gravity or light having weight is going to fluctuate like opinions about eating gluten or the efficacy of melatonin. It’s that I believe scientific inquiry will continue to advance in corners of civilization shielded from Creationism, Fundamentalism, war, violence, and other social ills. Little clusters of scientists – and other rational people open to change as new evidence comes in – will continue to explore all the aspects of being alive on our planet. The DNA thread with courage, the one that urges us to learn the truth based on repeatable evidence, will prevail through hard times.

Hard times such as when great factions of people are trying to set back the clock on women’s rights, deny climate change, violate the principles of separation of religion and state, carry assault weapons – omg! – into market places, help the rich get richer without caring for the poor, divert funds away from health care and education, and destroy Mother Earth on the assumption that she will just keep on giving to her spoiled children.

Ben reminded me of the important things: we will not fling out into the cosmos whether gravity has weight or not, and the sun will come up tomorrow whether light has weight or not. We have what we need to make love, give joy, and provide health and safety and justice for others on this planet.

Abrupt change right here:

I am in grieving about what is happening in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel. I know that I am grieving more profoundly because I have friends there. It is personal.

The deaths in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and the Ukraine are larger, perhaps more horrendous, though Israel is announcing – perhaps has already begun – massive bombing attacks on Gaza and is talking about land forces.

[A moment ago, as I was doing a final check on this blog, reports came in that bombs have reached Jerusalem, missiles seemingly from Gaza. How horrendous this is going to become is beyond my desire to imagine or ability to face at this moment. It is not impossible that Gaza will be decimated. The below continues more or less as originally written.]

These attacks escalated from the actions of two hate-filled violent Palestinians that Hamas seems genuinely not to have known or to have been able to control. We now know that the Israeli authorities knew within hours that the three settler youth were most assuredly dead. They had the phone tape that included the gun shots and the songs of the monsters who killed them, celebrating their deaths. For a week they didn’t tell anyone, including the parents, while they (re)arrested more than 500 Palestinians, demolished homes, and managed in the process to kill at least 10 Palestinians. Gangs of Israelis – mostly young men by the videos I saw – took to the street chanting “Death to Arabs.”

This is the open warfare that I know the most about. It is more manageable and personal to me than Syria, Iraq, Egypt, the Ukraine. I know the territory and can wrap my head around this catastrophe. It just happens to be that way. I have no excuses, just lack of knowledge of the other horrors.

At the same time the US Stock Exchange is reaching new highs. Is this because we feel separated and insular from the fight, therefore safe? We are the island of stability? Or are we grateful that for once we aren’t sending troops anywhere? Let them all kill each other while we will eat cake? Or are investors just oblivious? [Later note: let’s see how the Exchange reacts to today’s suicidal insanity.]

I sold my stock in Caterpillar Inc. a month ago, before the Presbyterian Church divested from its stock holdings in companies like Caterpillar Inc that contribute to Israel’s containment and occupation of Palestinians. I can’t hold stock in a company that helps build nine-meter high concrete walls to hold a nation in and provides bulldozers to level people’s homes.

I don’t think Caterpillar Inc. noticed my sale, though I did send them a note about it. I also told them I would add the sale to my blog. Hence, here it is.

Returning to the light:

Maybe gravity and light have weight yet to be measured. Maybe they don’t.

But death and violence and racism and prejudice and hate do have weight. People fall when they die, when they are battered. So do morals of a culture, so do hopes and aspirations, so do opportunities, so do fragile psyches, so do the minds of children when they lose their parents. (I remember in Afghanistan. You could look into children’s eyes and see immediately who would rise and laugh again and who would be broken for the rest of their lives.)

Light may have weight, or it may not. But it can cleanse and heal and return us to sanity and give us hope and help us to forgive, and that is something of such value that it must have substance.

Whether that substance relates to something in our oh so real physical bodies and brains, or if it is the vapor of an elixir that comes from some great elsewhere doesn’t matter. I believe we can call light into our beings, and into our lives – and we must now. Now.

Each one of us for all of us. Because that’s how light works. It is not exclusive.

If you don’t share light and healing, it will leave you to the dark, which gives you and me only one viable option as I don’t think you like dark and injury anymore than I do.


How Can I Be Snarky When You’re Injured?

The answer to that is I can’t, even though you are a stranger to me, Linda C.

The original title to this blog was to have been Did You Just Say I Was “do pathic”?

The original first three paragraphs were to have been:

1) “Do pathic” = “so pathetic.” At least that’s how I read Linda’s post to me on Facebook. The sentence, lifted from two paragraphs of attack and sarcasm, is: You are really something I pity you you are do pathic you should be ashamed. June 25 at 5:30pm.

2) Facebook is well suited for snark, but no one had ever out and out blasted me there before so it felt like a christening. I had said something that left irrational people sputtering and unable to spell. I wonder if I would be so proud if her comments had merit.

3) Yes, I, too, can do snark. Who can’t? It’s much easier than thinking.

Then the report came in that the bodies of the three young Israeli settlers had been found. My original paragraphs no longer had a modicum of humor in them. I lay down my snark and surrender to our broken hearts.

The young men deserve their names to be told – Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar. At my last count at least six Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) since the kidnapping. They equally deserve their names to be told but the news of their deaths is scattered and piecemeal. The number will rise if IDF bombing continues in Gaza. More than 540 Palestinians have been arrested to date, most held in prison without charges, which is common and legal under Israel law.

If you are on Facebook with me, you know I regularly share news from Israel and Palestine. You might also know that I was the editor, photographer, and – working with my Palestinian and Israeli liaisons – the primary interviewer for the book “Sixty Years, Sixty Voices: Israeli and Palestinian Women” printed in English, Arabic, and Hebrew (available on Amazon). I have also produced a dozen short videos with these and other women.

Between 2003 and 2010 I made 8 or 9 trips to the region of three weeks each, with time divided equally between Israel and the West Bank. I average five to twenty FB updates daily of “conditions on the ground” from Israelis and Palestinians.

[Photographs are coming in right now of the bombing of Gaza. Buildings exploding. The kidnapping and killing of the three Israelis were by two men apparently “rogue” to Hamas. Israeli policy is collective punishment.]

This is an area where I have knowledge – enough knowledge to recognize when someone is denying reality or is grossly misinformed. Enough knowledge to know when someone, even unconsciously, is the problem and not the solution. Enough knowledge to know who is the primary aggressor. Enough knowledge – and direct experience – to know that Netanyahu is arrogant and dangerous. Enough knowledge to know that historical wounds and incalculable fear can sink their claws onto reason and reality and bring them down.

Enough knowledge to know that the death of the three settlers will be used as proof that all Palestinians are dangerous and terrorists. Linda C said it clearly: Patricia Smith You missed the point lady you are actually saying that because no one was killed when terrorist from Gaza hit Sderot then it’s okay. Dont you realize that they want to kill as many Israelis as they can the fact that they miss doesn’t change anything it’s the fact that they are trying.

Of course I did not say that since no one was killed it was okay for missiles to be shot from Gaza to the southern Israel town of Sderot. It’s not okay. Missiles are never okay.

What I said, that prompted Linda to write in the first place, was: I’ve been at Sderot where . . . when I asked in deep sincerity how many people were killed the year before, silence fell, and then someone said,” well, a rocket went through someone’s kitchen ceiling.” Yes, a few people have been killed. Yes, there is fear. But for this over 1300 Gazans were killed in retaliation?
June 25 at 4:38pm 

Whether you could say that Linda C responded to my question about killing over 1300 (actually more it turned out) Gazans in 22 days at the beginning of 2009 in Operation Cast Iron is questionable. No Israeli, in fact no Jew, has ever responded when I give this reminder. Few have responded to my inquiries about the hundreds of deaths at the hands of the IDF since Cast Iron, about the expanding settlements, about night raids, about house demolishing, or about the more than 5000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

Silence is the prevailing response. The silence of good people, people who care, people who want peace. Silence. I cannot tell you how much I long for this acknowledgment, how much it hurts to have this wall of silence, a wall that I do not know how to interpret. Is it denial? It is emotional freezing caused by fear, or guilt, or scars? The most important question it seems: Is peace possible without ownership of pain caused?

In case I need to say it: I have had two Jewish husbands, my daughter converted, my grandchildren are Jewish. I am literally at home with Jewish warmth, humor, creativity, sense of family, and genius. That is WHY it particularly hurts. It is my family, and they have been deeply wounded – and now they are deeply wounding others.

Linda said: Patricia Smith let me tell you something until you’ve had to go an identify your child by a piece of her clothing because she and several other children were blown to bits by a Palestinian terrorist you have no idea of what real terror is. Believe all the propaganda lies you want because they will never change the fact that you are supporting terrorist until the day comes when they no longer need you as a mouth piece to spread their lies and hate you will realize what a fool you are.
June 25 at 5:19pm

This is immense pain talking – the pain of a woman I do not know – and I have no response except I have been with both Israelis and Palestinians whose innocent children were killed by the “other” side. The deaths are exactly the same, the daily and unending grief is exactly the same. No child’s death takes precedence over another.

Snark is not the answer. Hopefully compassion may have a chance because otherwise fear will blind and defeat us all.