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Help!

I am studying the Palestine map following the names of the attacked communities. Ein Samiyah, Turmus Aya, Jaloud, Luban A-Sharquiah, Kaboun. The people living there come closer to me as the fire catches their homes. I hear children screaming, trapped in a room. First, they screamed when a window was smashed by a stone. Then they choked as a teargas canister was thrown in through the window.


I am the camera that sees the streams of colonists running around the alley that I just got to know. They run, crazed, from house to house holding axes and torches, smashing windows and doors and igniting vehicles. They are on a divine mission, crazed and violent, freed entirely of any humane inhibition.


I now know the house on the right very well. Its comely iron gate in front, a wisteria branch with its delicate lilac flowers hides the hand holding the axe for a moment. It’s the hand of a dark-dressed boy, his face masked, only his side-curls and religious tassels visible waving to the tune of the flames bursting out of the vehicle he has just now ignited.


I am the phone exchange calling the police: Help! Help!! The colonists are attacking!


Where, did you say? What is the name of the place?! Are you there? Who are you? Where is this? Who’s attacking?? Whom??? Could you spell the name of the location?


I spell it. Kaboun. A tiny community at the heart of a great desert. Colonists came here this morning, stole a cellular pone and ordered the Palestinian - living there for generations – to leave until this afternoon. If he does not comply, they will come and violently remove him. Help! Help!!


I am there in spirit, in Kaboun, under the harsh sun. The hill overlooking the little community was colonized two weeks ago. Yesterday they brought pebbles and a bulldozer flattened the area. And I am not there. Not really. This afternoon a pogrom will take place in Kaboun and I will not be there.


I am helplessness. The Dutch child who has failed. The dam is broken. The water has overtaken the dam and the child and it drowns him and the whole of beautiful, faraway Holland with its picturesque windmills. But I am not in Holland and this is no children’s tale.


I am here, in sun-scorched Israel, learning the Palestine map by the rhythm of the spreading fires. I am here, on the corner of Kaplan and Leonardo da Vinci streets, and I am helpless. I beat my head against the wall of the Great Protest, and know, achingly know that the crowds rushing with its Israeli flags to the Begin Crossroads, refuses to connect Eli Colony and Palestinian Turmus Aya with the Kaplan Street celebration.


I am helplessness.


A young man who joined the struggle against the occupation this week says to me: I am amazed that my friends, academics in the fields of arts and philosophy, join the Kaplan protest marches and see no connection between the Israeli occupation and the wish for democracy.


Yes, that’s it. Exactly. They gallop past us blindly, waving their blue-and-white flags, hurrying over to their pals and to the joyous encounter, feeling that ‘we are doing it’, ‘how great we are together’ and don’t realize that their carnival is taking place parallel to the real thing.


I am helplessness.



The rampaging colonists and their evil representatives in the government and parliament will not stop at Turmus Aya. Democracy will not take hold here while Huwara is burning. Everything here will go up in the flames of trampling, messianic fire. All systems will cave in, there will be no one left to save anyone. Whoever does not save the Palestinians fails to save himself.


I am the phone operator summoning the ‘security forces’ who will always arrive after the Palestinian town has been burnt and the wounded hospitalized. I shout now to whoever can still hear from inside the terrible din of the protest stages: Save them! Save us!!

The real war over our home takes place in Palestine, not in the Begin-Kaplan Junction. And now may already be too late. That’s why I begin to shout overseas: HELP!


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