Destruction and tragedy are everywhere in Gaza!
Buildings have been bombed. Homes have been bulldozed to smithereens. Schools and hospitals have been damaged or destroyed. People have been killed or maimed! The basic requirements for a simple life, in this densely populated piece of Earth are in short supply (or totally missing) for the millions who are living in what has been called "the world's largest outdoor prison." And still, it is a beautiful place--because of the people!
On International Women's Day, I had the honor and privilege of celebrating with dozens of Gazan Women in a community center in Rafah City, Gaza. This supreme opportunity came as a result of responding to an e-mailed invitation from CODE PINK that simply said:
"Come With Us to Gaza...
Humanitarian Delegation to Gaza for International Women's Day
Pay Tribute to the Women of Gaza..."
"...Program: Meetings with UN and government officials, local women (including victims of Israeli violence), humanitarian and development agencies, journalists, health workers and politcal analysts. Visit areas devastated by Israeli attacks."
The actual program included everything that was stated and much more---so much more, in fact, that a week after returning to Santa Fe, I am still processing and remembering and questioning and wondering how to contextualize the experience. Perhaps it's not possible.
Perhaps it's not possible (for an everyday citizen of this country) to begin to contain the experiences of standing in the rubble of towns and settlements, listening to the gentle Palestinians tell their stories of loss, of torture and hearing the professional reports and assessments of what the damage (physical, economic, psychological, environmental) has done/is doing...to the children...to the farmers...to the fishermen...
It is my nature to wonder. And so I wonder what can be done? Who can show up to relieve/remedy/eliminate the horrors that are being inflicted on this culture, on these families, on the innocent children tenuously surviving on this little piece of disputed land?
Don't tell me bombs and tanks and bulldozers and white phosphorous are the answers! Don't tell me the aggression towards these people is simply the result of their aggression towards others. I know in my heart that all these horrors and all these tragedies are, in large part, the result of ancient fears and modern greed. What I want to know, what I do not know, is how do we rid ourselves of those fears and that greed? How do we understand our actions and how do we forgive ourselves for our transgressions? And when will that forgiveness show up in the form of Love? Generosity? Understanding? Cooperation? Who in the World is condoning the torture and destruction that is being delivered upon our brothers and sisters here, there and everywhere on this beleaguered planet of ours?
Of course I can't contextualize my experience in Gaza! It's unfathomable!