I’ve been writing this post in my mind for a few days now, but it never seems to have made it onto paper. I’m not sure now is the right time either…but then again, perhaps there’s never a good time. It’s just that now I’m mad. Infuriated. Livid. Irate…and a few things in between. And sometimes when I’m mad, I need to vent. So vent I will. Because earlier this afternoon at least three Jewish travelers were run down by a Palenstinian driver just a few kilometers away from my house.
I’m mad for the victims whose injuries are so fresh that their names haven’t yet been released. I’m angry for their parents and siblings, neighbors and friends who will surely be traumatized for weeks, if not months or years. I’m incensed that our children are growing up in a place and time where standing at the wrong bus stop can be a fatal mistake.
But I’m upset for another reason as well. I’m furious for the thousands of Palestinian workers who go to work every day in Jewish settlements and cities…at gunpoint. Call me a sympathizer, call me naïve, call me anything you want – but until you’ve been the one standing guard with that gun, shepherding hardworking men to demanding physical jobs where they’re lucky if they earn minimum wage, you don’t know what it’s like. I’ve been that guard. And it’s awful.
This is not a prison. These workers have not committed heinous crimes. Their only offence is that they are members of a nation where other people commit heinous crimes. And let’s be honest – my fellow Americans shoot each other all the time. Just this week two students were shot on their college campus in California. And this is just one of dozens of school shootings that occur each year (there have been 10 US school shootings so far in 2015 alone, not to mention hundreds of other random shootings nationwide). And yet, I don’t see anyone shepherding students to school at gunpoint to make sure that they don’t kill anyone.
I understand this example is a bit extreme, but the point is a serious one. I don’t want to be judged based on the actions of Baruch Goldstein or Bernie Madoff…why should we do the same to others or any race or religion?
On the most rational level, I understand why our security measures are in force and why we need to be constantly on guard. But it pains me that the few have to spoil the world for the many and that we are perpetuating a society filled with racism and fear. It tears at my soul to see hardworking men being herded like animals and to know they’d rather work under these circumstances than not work at all. It breaks me to know that many of the people who read this post will still not see the bigger picture and will continue their discrimination. And it absolutely kills me to know that beyond the scope of those who read this post, thousands of people within my own country will continue to go to work every single day at gunpoint.