WHAT DO WE TELL THE CHILD ABOUT GAZA?
Tell her it’s serious
The current onslaught on the people of Gaza, the latest in a series by The Israeli State and Defence Forces, shows:
That if they wish they could blow the people of Gaza into the sea of oblivion. Perhaps that is what they wish.
But don’t frighten her
Don’t tell her they’ll kill her
That this onslaught does not stop the activities of Hamas and other militants, which include the firing of rockets into Israeli cities.
Tell her we’re stronger
Tell her we’re entitled
Tell her they don’t understand anything except violence
That this onslaught is resourced by the highest level of military might on the planet, supplied at commercial rates from the biggest economies. That the onslaught makes profit for those economies.
Tell her something about the men
Tell her they’re bad in the game
Tell her it’s a story
That Gaza is a densely populated strip of Mediterranean coastal land squeezed into a corner of an arc of land that runs from modern day Turkey south into the Arab lands towards the Gulf of Aden, east into Iran and west towards Morocco.
Don’t tell her Arabs used to sleep in her bedroom
That there is an immense amount of oil and gas under the ground in all of these lands.
Don’t tell her they said it was a land without people
Don’t tell her I wouldn’t have come if I’d known
That religious fundamentalisms of a variety of hues characterise these lands and give succour to forms of social and political organisation that are hypocritical, despotic, exclusive and apartheid-like.
Tell her there were people who hated Jews
Don’t tell her
Tell her it’s over now
Tell her there are still people who hate Jews
Tell her there are people who love Jews
Don’t tell her to think ‘Jews’ or not ‘Jews’
Tell her more when she’s older
Tell her how many when she’s older
Tell her it was before she was born and she’s not in danger
That there is a 20th century history of genocide in the recent memory of the dominant people in the state of Israel that underpins the belligerence of the state and rationalises acts of extreme violence and aggression in the name of defence.
Tell her we want peace
That the activities of the militants in Gaza echo the activities of the militants, who were also embedded in the civilian population and who also dug tunnels, in the Warsaw ghetto in 1943.
Tell her maybe we can share
That worldwide demonstrations are necessary to say that the killing of children is wrong. Otherwise there is a question as to whether we can call ourselves ‘human’.
Tell her they’re attacking with rockets
Don’t frighten her
Tell her only a few of us have been killed
Tell her the army has come to our defence
Don’t tell her her cousin refused to serve in the army. Don’t tell her how many of them have been killed
Tell her the Hamas fighters have been killed
Don’t tell her about the family of dead girls
Tell her you can’t believe what you see on television
Tell her we killed the babies by mistake
Don’t tell her anything about the army
That without a thorough-going dismantling of the international arms industry the onslaught will recur.
Don’t tell her anything about water
Don’t tell her about the bulldozer
Don’t tell her not to look at the bulldozer
Don’t tell her it was knocking the house down
Tell her it’s a building site
Don’t tell her anything about bulldozers
Don’t tell her about the queues at the checkpoint
That the dismantling of the arms industry will mean job losses in the major economies, job losses for which the economies and their people are not ready.
….. tell her I wouldn’t care if we wiped them out, the world would hate us is the only thing, tell her I don’t care if the world hates us, tell her we’re better haters, tell her we’re chosen people, tell her I look at one of their children covered in blood and what do I feel? Tell her all I feel is happy it’s not her. Don’t tell her that. Tell her we love her. Don’t frighten her.
That the onslaught must stop. That all people must be safe. And free.
Seven Jewish Children – a play for Gaza; Caryl Churchill; stage-play; London; 2010