The most eerie part of living in Israel is knowing that every square foot of this land is drenched in blood. Everywhere you look there are reminders of this. On one of the main roads to the university, there is a monument to 17 people who lost their lives in a suicide bombing during the Second Intifada. Occasionally, one finds plaques and signs memorializing soldiers who died in combat. These reminders are everywhere, one need only recognize them.
Perhaps the most acute reminder of the human cost of war is Israel’s Independence Day (Yom HaZikaron). This year it was on May 9. Yom HaZikaron is the one day a year that the entire country stops for at least a few moments in remembrance of soldiers who sacrificed their lives. Every year on this day at a certain time the air raid siren is sounded everywhere in the country. This is the signal for everyone to pause what they are doing in honor of the dead.
If you have never heard one before, an air raid siren is the most unearthly sound I have ever heard. When one hears that siren, one knows that it means one of two things: death or destruction. I guess it is fitting then to use the siren to memorialize the toll of independence.
The flag of Israel at half mast during a Memorial Day ceremony.
The flag of Israel at half mast during a ceremony for Memorial Day
Congratulations on the killing of your archenemy Osama bin Laden. You must feel really great. After all, it has been 10 years long years since the Twin Towers came down and 3000 Americans lost their lives. Everyone remembers how surreal that day was. That was the only time in my school career that my parents let me eat breakfast in front of the television. It was the first time in my young life that I felt a deep sense of insecurity and fear. No one knew what tomorrow would bring. Not even the people who were supposed to know. In the days that followed the dust began to clear. The reordering of things began and an epic witch hunt began.
Ten years later, we can finally put the ghosts of 9/11 to rest.
How can you celebrate the death of a man responsible for killing 3000 Americans when your revenge cost 6000 American lives? Not to mention the ruination of untold lives of civilians in the path of your wrath creating soil rich for the planting seeds of hate and extremism.
Somewhere in his special corner of hell, bin Laden is laughing. His masterful plan of death, destruction and insanity evolved to something far more destructive than he could have imagined. He may be dead but we have to live with the consequences of our actions.
This weekend I am going to Elat. We will be hiking. There is a high possibility that I will either A. fall off the mountain. B. Get really annoyed with the entire situation (read: 8 hours of hiking) and go crazy, running off into the wilderness, where I will be forced to fend for myself and will find myself adopted by a pack of wolves. Ten years thus, I will be rescued by an IDF unit running drills in the desert and after relearning English and reintegrating myself into human society, I will publish a best selling book entitled- Raised by Wolves: One Woman’s Journey Through the Desert to Reclaim Her Self.
Please pray for me.
Also, for lent I gave up alcohol. So after hiking in the wilderness for 40 hours, I will not be able to look forward to an ice cold alcoholic beverage to make me forget my aching muscles. I am seriously rethinking my lenten choices. Next week’s update should be a good one. Keep my sanity in your prayers!