Shoshana Lavan

You’ll just have to cancel Christmas, then

Different news on the same event: Screenshot by Shoshana Lavan

This morning I made the mistake, again, of looking at the Guardian’s headlines. Perhaps it’s because I’m so angry right now; it helps me to have a place to put my anger. The sentence which jumped out at me was about ‘Hamas’ health-ministry’. This term is fascinating. The same terrorist organization which raped, burned, mutilated, massacred, you name it – why should I, after all, most people already ‘know’ and so many don’t care or don’t even believe – those same terrorists apparently have a health ministry and are reporting to the world about how many casualties there have been in Gaza so far. I can’t help wondering if Dr. Mengele had also reported about the unfortunate suffering of the Germans at the end of the war, how many people would have listened to and believed him. Poor Germans, suffering for the torture the SS inflicted. It seems unfair, really, doesn’t it?

People are still asking me how I am. I’m not sure why, because I’m not telling them what they want to hear. There’s no days I am okay. There are only days where I am more okay than I was the day before. There are no days I can behave the way I behaved before the war. There are only days I am reminded, when I look at the beautiful rainbow or the pink sky or the hummingbirds in the bushes, how I used to feel when I saw these incredible creations. I was mostly at peace with God and at peace with fellow man. I believed in the triumph of good over evil. Now I’m not so sure.

You see, even when we win this war, and we will win (but what does it actually mean to win a war, when so many people die and suffer in the process it cannot really be described as winning at all, only bearing through or tolerating or getting over) we haven’t really won any war at all. Because people all over the world believe for some reason Israel has been fighting a war against Hamas – Hamas, who runs a health ministry and who releases hostages with their cute little fluffy dogs intact and the hostages smiling and waving to their captors; Hamas who are so tender and gentle that they’ve been kind enough not to rape and mutilate all of the Jews. You see, it’s not that kind of war at all.

My American friend sent on a kibbutz Whatsapp Group two different articles on the same morning – see the pictures above – asking us how he can know what to believe when everyone is reporting everything in contrasting ways. I replied to him to follow his gut feeling. His absolute heartfelt understanding: that all good, decent human beings have in their souls, the understanding of the difference between good and evil. If a group of people go into a place and rape, murder, burn, mutilate, massacre (do I need to repeat all this – it’s getting a little repetitive – only, I feel that people are not listening – are people even listening?) then you must know that those people are EVIL people. And the people who decide to wipe them out – however unfortunate it is there will be others who die and who suffer – are fighting on the side of good. This is not a war against Hamas. It is a war where Israel is trying to do its best to protect the whole world against evil. But for some reason the whole world can’t see it. Or perhaps they can. Perhaps they are fed up it is Jews, once again, who are taking upon themselves to mend the broken world. Why always Jews? How come they are always the goody goodies?

Oy vey. Even Jesus was a goody goody. What you gonna do with that? Perhaps you should all covert to extreme Islam. After all, then you’d have some possibility of not being killed by Hamas, when they come for you. But I wouldn’t count on it.

I wonder why I’m still writing these days. Only the people who agree with me will read my words. The ones who don’t are reading the Guardian and watching the BBC. What’s the point in any words anymore, I ask myself? I can’t even carry on with my draft of my book – I was so close to finishing and having it published by Matar this year – because the subject matter is about the antisemitism in Britain in the 1930s, the fascism there and the Nazism in Germany – how both grew and produced murderers and ultimately, genocide. I mean, actual GENOCIDE. Not the word being thrown around like a tennis ball from newspaper to newspaper, reader to reader. I mean the genocide of a race of people because they were Jewish, and the brutal slaughter of 6 million of them. (I don’t mean the ‘supposed’ genocide of the Palestinians. Perhaps you should know that in 1946 between the River and the Sea there were 1.3 million Arabs. Today there are 9.4 million.)

Now I’m trying to digest – is that the right word – I can’t even find my words any longer – the brutal murder of over 1200 people and the taking hostage of around 250 and I can’t even get my head around that. The suffering. The trauma. The despair. How do I continue my book where the main character finds out millions of her people have been killed?

I don’t even know where to start.

But apparently, all over the world, other people have many words to write, many views on the subject, although they’re not Jewish, or have never been to Israel, or simply never learned the history of our peoples here, the Arabs and the Jews.

Don’t get me started again on what people don’t know.

So why am I even writing if I feel everything is so futile?

Because there is still a spark of hope in my soul – refreshed every morning when I watch the sunrise, or every afternoon when I cuddle my little boy after school. Good has to win. We haven’t got any choice. And all you folks who have to cancel Christmas for a while, you’ll see. Jesus will be back, telling you what is right and wrong. He knew.

He was an Israeli Jew, after all.

About the Author
Shoshana Lavan is a published author, high school teacher of English Literature and Language, teacher of English as a foreign language and most importantly, a very proud mother of her gorgeous little boy. She is a peace activist and a committed vegan. A keen runner, she adores the mountains and glorious sunshine in this wonderful country.
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