A Dare for Obama and Kerry

For the last 20-something days, I’ve had several devices loaded with various Red Alert sites and apps – all designed to make me aware, in real-time, as they claim, of a siren or Color Red warning anywhere in Israel.

A few days ago, more even, I called my parents in the early morning and was a bit shaken to learn that had I not called, they would have slept through the alarm. They live in Petach Tikvah and don’t always hear the siren. So we set them up remotely with the various apps and sites, and mapstill call them regularly if there is something even remotely close to where they live.

Several times, I have been in the middle of writing a post on my blog (A Soldier’s Mother) when my computer and phone start beeping. Often, from across the room, I’ll hear my son’s phone beep as well. It is, at times, almost impossible to complete a sentence or finish a thought. I’ll interrupt the post and write the location where the sirens are sounding and format it in red so it will be clearly visible for the disturbance it is. Minor for me, major for those in the area where the rockets are headed.

And after being interrupted again and again, an idea began to form. Since Kerry and Obama feel they have the right to demand that Israel agree to an immediate ceasefire, maybe they should walk in our shoes a bit. No, not literally – John Kerry was here and I don’t recall him making an effort to go to the areas worst hit. But if not literally, than perhaps virtually.

Never mind that we’ve gone along with almost every ceasefire request (and honored them until Hamas broke whatever latest ceasefire agreement there was). Never mind that this little war of ours has probably had more ceasefires than the entire year plus civil war in Syria, the several years battles between Iran and Iraq and certainly more ceasefires than either of the  map2Gulf Wars!

So here’s my dare.I challenge John Kerry and Barack Obama to install one of these Red Siren apps on their mobile devices (or better, on all of them). And then, I challenge them to go to Never mind that the map is in Hebrew – it doesn’t matter. All you need to do is look at the pictures.

Each pin represents an area where people are running for their lives; grabbing their children and shielding them with their bodies. And not just people – tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of people – all at the same time. Today, we had four funerals of soldiers killed in this battle. At one of the funerals, there were 20,000 people who were instructed to lie down on the ground if there is a siren attack. How do 20,000 people get down on the ground in a packed crowd with barely enough room to stand?

I dare Kerry and Obama to turn the speakers up to full volume and then try to have a conversation, a day of work, without noticing that they will be interrupted a good 40-50 times, perhaps even more. Today we “only” were hit with 60 rockets. A few weeks ago, we were averaging over 100 rockets a day – one every 10 minutes.

I dare you, John Kerry and Barack Obama to live with the interruptions, the worry as you realize people are running for their lives. Waiting until reports come in – Iron Dome shot down 3 rockets; 4 landed in open fields. One landed in a house, but thankfully the people weren’t home. One landed in a school yard, but thankfully the teacher had just taken the children inside…one critically injured….a factory, a home, a gas station, an open field, but now a fire is burning and destroying a farmer’s crops.

Live with endless daily alerts – oh, and the dare includes taking the laptop or device with you to your bedroom and keeping it on there. 1:00 a.m., 2:30 a.m. 4:37 a.m. and on Saturday morning, our one day of rest…6:00 a.m.

Latest attack, minutes ago

And I dare the UN Secretary General who also demands a ceasefire to download one of these apps and leave it running on a device that is placed right next to a working microphone in the General Assembly. Let them hear the sirens; let them wonder, strain to hear the boom.

I dare you…I dare you all to insist we allow normalcy back into Gaza while they continue to fire rockets at us. You want a humanitarian truce fine? Fine, as soon as you remember that we are humans too. That our citizens have the right to live in the sunshine and not have to run for their lives.

Take me up on the dare, Kerry and Obama – and let the world know you are doing it! I dare you.



About the Author
Paula R. Stern is CEO of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company in Israel. Her personal blog, A Soldier's Mother, has been running for more than 5 years. She lives in Maale Adumim with her husband and children, a dog, too many birds, and a desire to write her thoughts and dream of a trip to Italy, Scotland, and beyond.