Fourth of a series, Submitted July 27, 2014 by Mary Knight
There are plenty of construction sites that discuss how 800,000 tons of concrete could be used. Search the internet to see what Hamas might have built instead.
Groucho Marx said humor is reason gone mad. I wish I had the comic timing of Groucho but my family will attest, and I will admit, that it just ain’t so.
If I were a true comedienne, the Israeli Hamas war blog that I’ve been writing would not be considered humor, as friends and family interpret. And if I was a real writer instead of being a photojournalist who writes, the theme of war-as-schizophrenia would be clearer.
This blog has been about extreme reactions to war and the emotion of fear that replaces all else. It’s about anxiety that interrupts calm; and relief, and irony that I can return to a normal day after threat. It’s about the guilt of being safe in my bomb shelter while Palestinian citizens are not; knowing their level of fear and panic doesn’t get to the relief stage.
Why don’t they have shelters, I rage inside my head. Oh yeah, it’s because their government used the concrete they imported for more important things than bomb shelters, schools, apartment buildings, roads, theaters, and hospitals. Instead, Hamas
leaders built the single best bomb shelter money could buy, for themselves alone– a modern underground city of weapons storage and communications, with the aid of top-notch engineers.
No such engineers were hired by the Hamas government, to design bomb shelters at schools for Palestinian children; but the government’s weapons tunnels are state-of-
the-art. Maybe Hamas ran out of materials needed to build public safety and security infrastructure, after they poured all the concrete into the ground.
As I told my cousin, this measly blog is about an average American like him or me—dumped into the middle of the long-standing, Jewish-Arab, fight-to-the-death conflict, when all we want is to make love not war.
It’s about anxiety the first time I was under threat of fire and hiding in a bomb shelter; vs. wanting everything to be normal so I could make pizza. (And it’s about understanding through experience that Israelis have been in direct line of Hamas fire for more than ten years. Who knew, experience is the best teacher.)
It’s about wanting to urgently call our kids to tell them I love them, and needing to apologize to my father for 50 years of arguments, vs. not wanting to worry my family or upset the people who are in the bomb shelter with me.
It’s about the ridiculous notion that my life is more important than our security guards’ lives. These young, good-looking guys put my life before theirs, even though they are fathers themselves with their own families to care for. And they might not be on the job next week because they could be called back to active duty.
It’s about hearing Iron Dome interceptions so close to my head that I wonder if debris will fall on our house. But, whew, at least the rocket was intercepted.
It’s about noticing every little thing in the bomb room each time I enter, including biohazard gear, and worrying (unnecessarily) that chemical warfare is next.
It’s about wondering how much air is available in a 5 x 8 room, how long it lasts, how hot it will get inside (thus, the fan) and what if someone, including myself, will have to go to the bathroom.
It’s about worrying when the power will go out and I’m sitting in a hot, dark safe room without Bill to crack a joke.
It’s about the biggest, most extreme, schizophrenic reaction of all – the response of people from around the world, who watch death and destruction in Gaza, from their
armchairs, and blame Israel instead of Hamas.
Mary Knight is a former photojournalist for the Bridgeport Post & Telegram; now a Hearst newspaper, the Connecticut Post. Over the past twenty years, she worked as photo editor at a Washington DC news agency and on foreign assignments for the U.S. State Department as photographer, publicist, and community liaison; and she freelanced for the New York Times. Currently her husband is assigned to Israel and they live in Tel Aviv.