The essay below is the transcript from my January 8th audio diary entry (filed on Wednesday evening, January 7th), written specifically for the BBC World Service radio show “The World Today“. Currently, two of my three diary entries can be found online here.
This is Liza Rosenberg, keeping an audio diary for the World Today. I find it ironic that on the day we began attacking Gaza, my family and I were in the city of Jaffa, wandering through a crowded street fair whose theme was the celebration of three holidays – Chanukah, Christmas, and Eid el-Adha. I grew up in a multicultural society, and it’s very important to me that my son receives as much exposure to other cultures and religions as possible. Now I have a son who believes in Santa Claus, but that celebration of coexistence seems farther away than ever today, on the 12th day of fighting in Gaza.
Nothing in particular stands out for me today, and I still haven’t decided whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing – good, because maybe we didn’t make any crucial, tragic mistakes on the scale of yesterday’s school bombing. Bad, because maybe I’ve just gotten used to the daily dose of death and destruction that has permeated every facet of life during the past twelve days, whether it be the conversations of colleagues and friends or automatically pausing near one of the large plasma televisions mounted in the train stations, showing non-stop footage from the south.
If you were to ask me what I think of the current situation, I believe I’d say that I no longer know. On the one hand, Hamas forced us to take action, pushing and goading until we fell into the predictable trap of responding. I truly believe that this is exactly what they wanted, for us to turn on them, to cause innocent Gazans to die. On the other hand, when we act, how far should we be prepared to go? Hamas has always crossed the red lines, smashed them to pieces, in fact. Does that mean we should do the same? What does it say about us, when we fire on a building we know to be a school, even though we were fired upon from that same building first. We know that Hamas was using the school on purpose, hoping we would respond and create scenes of tragic devastation. Just because an opportunity to return fire presents itself, do we always have to seize that opportunity? Our political and military leaders have to know that there’s no amount of explanation they can provide, that they can justify yesterday’s actions until they’re blue in the face, providing proof in the guise of eyewitness reports and aerial photos… None of it will ever be able to compete against the images of death and devastation being broadcast around the world.
And where does all of this leave me? Alone with my thoughts, fears and frustrations, hoping that a solution to this horrific nightmare will be found soon, hoping that next year, I will be able to take my little Jewish Israeli son to Jaffa to see Santa Claus once again.