A Letter to the Citizens of Gaza
Dear Palestinian brothers,
It is with a heavy heart I write to you today. Gaza is burning. The border with Israel is under fire. Children on both sides of the fence are terrified, traumatized for life, wounded in body and soul. Life!! Life is lost. Blood flows! Pain and tears and anguish abound.
How familiar it all is, my brothers? How well we know these images, this fear clutching our throats, hope slipping away from our hearts?
A new year has begun. I am sitting here near my computer in the dark night, in my home by the sea. This sea that is ours, our Mediterranean sea, our culture, we the people of wandering, we the homeless, the homesick, we the fighters ,the builders, the survivors, our dreams like waves and tide, pulled by the moon and stars to eternity.
Since that fateful day in 1994 when Rabin was murdered a few feet from me, since that awful moment, I have dedicated much of my public life to singing and speaking for peace.
I have seen the peace process rise and fall and rise like the breast of a woman breathing in the night. I have seen opportunities missed, so many missed, so many chances, so much ignorance and stubbornness and bullheadedness, so much beauty trampled under the heavy boot of pride.
I have sung and I have spoken, I have argued and I have embraced, I have been moved to tears so many times, I have made the most unlikely friends….friends I would give my right arm for, friends I would run across the border under fire to protect.
And today, today I say this; we have one joint enemy, one awful joint enemy and we must all work together to eradicate it! That enemy is fanaticism my friends. That enemy is extremism in all its ugly reincarnations and manifestations.
That enemy is all men who put “god” above life, who claim "god” as their sword and shield, who claim “god” is on THEIR side. Jews, Muslims, Christians, all share this black streak. All have fallen to this destructive, horrible fanaticism at some point in their histories and the results have been devastating.
Noa. Inshallah, we will again have an opportunity (Photo: Ronen Ackerman)
I have often spoken out against fanaticism in my country, for I find it repulsive and unbearable. In government, in settlements, in synagogues, I am passionately against it. I have risked my career and my wellbeing for this belief.
Now I see the ugly head of fanaticism, I see it large and horrid, I see its black eyes and spine-chilling smile, I see blood on its hands and I know one of its many names :Hamas.
You know this too, my brothers. You know this ugly monster. You know it is raping your women and raping the minds of your children. You know it is educating to hatred and death.
You know it is chauvinistic and violent, greedy and selfish, it feeds on your blood and screams out Allah’s name on vain, it hides like a thief, uses the innocent as human shields, uses your mosques as arsenals, lies and cheats, uses YOU, tortures you, holds you hostage!!
I know this is true my brothers!! I know YOU know the truth!! And I know you cannot say it for fear of life so I will say it for you!! I fear nothing!!
I am privileged to live in a democracy where women are not objects but presidents, where a singer can say and do as she pleases! I know you do not have this privilege (yet…but you will, inshallah, you will…)
I know you are SICK of being held hostage by this demon, this ugly beast, not in Gaza, not in Iran or Iraq or Afghanistan, not anywhere!!! You are a people destined to flourish in peace! Your majestic history is overflowing with creativity, literature science and music, endless contributions to humanity, not crippling, torturing fanaticism, yelling Jihad and Shahid!
I see you sometimes, out in the streets, demonstrating with the monsters, yelling ‘death to the Jews, death to Israel!! But I don’t believe you! I know where your heart is! It is just where mine is, with my children, with the earth, with the heavens, with music, with HOPE!! You want nothing of this but you have no choice! I see through your veil of fear my brothers, through your burka! I embrace your hopes for they are mine!
My country has made many many mistakes over the years, I have watched it miss so many opportunities, and as a citizen of this country I am the first to admit it and criticize its foolery. I demonstrate, I vote, I speak out, I sing loud and clear.
But, now, today, I know that deep in your hearts YOU WISH for the demise of this beast called Hamas who has terrorized and murdered you, who has turned Gaza into a trash heap of poverty, disease and misery. Who in the name of "allah” has sacrificed you on the bloody alter of pride and greed.
My brothers, I cry for you. I cry for us too, yes, I cry for my fellow countrymen suffering the bombs in the south and north and everywhere, I cry for the kidnapped soldiers and the murdered ones, for their bereft families, for the innocence lost forever, but I cry especially painfully for you for I know your suffering, I feel you, I feel you!!
I can only wish for you that Israel will do the job we all know needs to be done, and finally RID YOU of this cancer, this virus, this monster called fanaticism, today, called Hamas. And that these killers will find what little compassion may still exist in their hearts and STOP using you and your children as human shields for their cowardice and crimes.
And then… then, maybe, Inshallah, we will again have an opportunity... we will again pick up our broken bodies and souls and walk slowly towards each other, reach out a tired hand, look into eyes filled with tears and with a choked voice say: “Shalom. Salam. Enough. Enough my brother ….
you want some coffee? Here, sit for a while…let's talk….we know the words, we know the songs, we know the road….
With a broken heart still yearning to love,