Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Palestine: making the political personal.

Raising Yousuf: A journalist's online account of trying to live and raise her toddler in occupied Gaza.

An excerpt:

"They try different combinations each day-25 tanks shells in a row; a gunship rocket attack; 5 more shells at eastern Gaza; drones whirring incessantly at varying speeds. 10 shells; 10 minutes of silence; sonic boom; 20 shells, with more firepower, in northern Gaza. 10 shells; one hour intermission; Shoot at someone near the fence. Stop to make sure there is no outcry and promise an investigation.

Then it continues.

Yousuf is at a very sensitive stage, where he doesn’t quite understand what’s going on-and looks to me for confirmation of whether or not he should be scared when the shelling starts. Following the advice of a friend, I continue to re-assure and distract him.

Today, I tried a new technique. Yousuf loves to sing and dance, so as the shelling started, we listened to some music my friend gave him as a gift- Suheil Khoury’s Bass Shwai, a children's CD from the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM), where four children, ages 9 to 11 sing songs composed by Khoury using lyrics written by various Palestinian poets and writers. Each song deals with a theme relating to children.

We listened to a song that imagines how the world might be like in different forms; a song I think can be read in many way. Needless to say, it was very therapeutic, perhaps more so for me than him. Sometimes, you need to take a step back and look through the eyes of children. Strange is what you make it I guess.

What if the world was made of wood
Birds of wood
Flowers of wood

What if the world was made of wood
Moons of wood
Stars of wood

How might it be, I wonder?
How strange…how strange
How would it be, I wonder?
How strange, how strange…

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