Varda Spiegel

Roger Waters, Israeli parents don’t need your education

A response to the Pink Floyd frontman's claim that Hamas rockets might kill 'only' one or two people

That stomach-churning “Wake me up when September ends” feeling is shared by the parents of every child that goes back to school at this time of year. We all know the ubiquitous fears: “What if no one’s wearing skinny [or boyfriend or stovepipe or bell-bottom] jeans this year? What if the teacher won’t let me go to the bathroom? What if I can’t figure out how much it costs to buy apples if a train traveling 50 mph leaves Cleveland at 6 PM?”

But what would Roger Waters, the co-founder of Pink Floyd and prominent proponent of BDS, tell his kids if they attended school today in the Gaza Envelope? Would he tell them what he told Gideon Levy of Haaretz, in an interview published last month:

“They [the rockets] are completely useless, everybody knows it. They’re a gesture of resistance, that’s all. They might hit something, but they won’t. And if they do, they might kill one person, or two people?”

A six-year old got off the bus at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai today. Her school threatened to strike yesterday – because it lacked and still lacks the requisite number of miguniot, fortified shelters. The Islamic Jihad launched a rocket in the school’s direction this morning, just as she arrived for her first day of school – ever.

You could barely see her head above and her scrawny legs below the pink Hello Kitty backpack stuffed with every book, neon marker, and One Direction and Taylor Swift notebook that she will need for the entire year. Suddenly the siren went off. She ran to take the hand of the nearest adult – a gray-haired woman who could have been her teacher, the principal, or someone’s grandma, for all she knows. The woman walked her to a sheltered room where she waited for the all-clear signal with everyone else who was in range of that shelter at that moment.

If she was like most six-year olds, she wasn’t even certain she could find her new classroom before this – much less a fortified shelter.

What would you tell her If she were your kid, Roger? Would you reassure her with “[I] know something of the Blitz in London. Both my parents were there”?

Don’t get me wrong. I hate the Occupation. I have attended endless marches and demonstrations calling for a two-state solution. I planted olive trees in the West Bank after they were uprooted by settlers. And I devoted 20+ years of my life to practicing nursing in the Arab sector.

Unlike Gideon Levy, I am not a big Pink Floyd fan. But I did work one of their concerts when I worked for the late great Bill Graham of blessed memory, back in the day. And I do thank you and the other members of the band, Roger, for the flying pig tee-shirt.

But how would you answer your daughter if she asked, “But what if I’m one of the two people?”

About the Author
Varda Spiegel was Nurse-Director of the Bedouin Mobile Unit of the Negev, later serving as Maternal-Child Health Director for the Ministry of Health Jerusalem District. I am the author of Hershele and the Chicken Skates, was the English Web Content Manager for the Israel Museum and have translated from Hebrew to English for Haaretz and the ANU Museum of the Jewish People. I'm a grandmother, mother, and beachbum.