17 December 2005

Mindblowing...

Here are some chosen parts from Laila's experience of the sleepless night;

"Just as my mother and I were chatting nonchalanatly, putting away the small plates of za'tar, olive oil, goat cheese, and persimmons, an enourmous explosion erupted following by the loud swoops of fighter jets-unlike ANYTHING I had ever heard- shaking our kitchen windows off the their hinges...the sound of Israeli fighter jets breaking the sound barrier over Gaza in a psychological war of terror.

I cannot begin to describe the sound except to say it penetrates into your very heart. Our whole building shook. I rand outside of the kitchen, fell down to the ground crying in hysterics, then screaming. My father woke up and held me tight, "its ok its ok", as my mother trying to calm me down. "what's happening, what's happening" I remember repeating hyserically. "We are being bombed, we are being bombed!"It is that feeling of uncertainty, of vulnerability and fear in the face of an unseen, seemingly formiddible force, of feeling that death is at your doorstep, that gets to you...that strikes morbid fear in your heart and soul.

I tried in vain to go to sleep after taking a benadryl. I brought Yousuf to sleep with me (who now, if asked what sound a plane makes, says "BOOM!"). Exactly at fajir call to prayer, it started again. Two more insane sonic booms. I cry now when I think of them. I can't get the near windows, I'm too afraid to be alone... I really dont' think anything I've witnessed here has had this kind of effect on me. Nothing.

I found this description by someone who has also experienced them: "You never get used to it if you're not prepared for the flypast. It's the scream of a thousand banshees which come immediately before the crash that unnerves. If you believe the aircraft is gonna attack, you're completely disorientated."

Read the posts here and here.

UPDATE: This particular night my children slept through most of the noice. When the first two hit, my daughter had just woke up and was luckily sitting in my knee. All you can do is hug her shaking little body and tell her that everything will be ok. Laila's description "it penetrates your very heart" is exactly how I have described it to my friends in Sweden. It feels like your heart is breaking.

It affects your mind (thereof the title "mindblowing"...), makes you do things totally out of character. The most scary thing is that IT MAKES YOU HATE. It makes you hate your life, you get depressed.

Laila's Yousuf now says "boom!" when asked how an airplane sounds. My 3 1/2 year old daughter asked me last time they dropped sonics on us, what it was that made that boom-sound? When I stumbled for words to explain, my 2 1/2 year old daughter filled in for me saying in arabic:

"Amal, hadha jahud!" - "Amal, it's the jews!"

Where's the hope in that?

11 comments:

tim said...

mindblowing is right. i can't even imagine.
what is so sad is that the cycle of anger, the cycle of hate will continue as the adults of today fight and can't find peace.... all this in front of kids. we are modeling the future. i see it here.... people making jokes about the middle east in front of kids. children are sponges, they take it in and make it their own. i wish you more peace in 2006, the idea of world peace is mindblowing.

SugarCubes said...

I don't have but my solidarity and sympathy to offer. May God be with you, this is indeed depressing :(

Judy said...

Maryam is only three, and she will have heard so many things said which she repeats, and which you would not say. But you are and with your husband will continue to be the most important and decisive influence in her life, whether she is in Gaza or anywhere else in the world. And so I know she will grow up to be a kind, open minded and loving human being who looks beyond the labels to look for the goodness in others.

Imaan On Ice said...

Thank you Judy!(I've missed your comments!!)

Anonymous said...

Moving story. It's funny I should stumble accross your blog this morning. Just yesterday, A Rabbi from S'derot came to our temple in New York to rally support for his Yeshivat Hesder (religious school for boys who serve in the army while studying religious texts). He described that the boys in his school lift the spirits of the town when rockets are fired at them from Gaza. He described that the Palestininans were waging a "psychological war" against them. Trying to break their spirit so that they would move out. A rocket fell in the middle of the town square causing no harm. The boys danced around it singing "G-d is mercifull" in thanks that no one was killed. Another parallell: You comforted you daughter when she woke up from the noise. It reminded of the story of Two-year-old Dorit Aniso and four-year-old Yuval Abebeh who were killed in Sderot on 9-29-04 while playing near their relative's house(reported by Amnesty). In Sderot there is no violence between feuding families. If you want to play in the street, your only fear is that a Palestinian Rocket will fall on you, snuffing out your life and foreever changing the lives of those who took joy in watching you grow, gazing at your smile. Now, I'm sure that Gazans have more than their fare share of similar stories and my sympathy goes out to those families. It's not a contest to see who has suffered more. That leads no where. I would say the palestininans have suffered more since '67, certainly. However, noise from planes is not "psychological terrorism" You are right that it is warfare- terrorism it is not. That's not to say it isnt scary. Terorrism is dropping bombs on 2 and 4 year olds while playing SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY WERE PLAYING, as Hamas admitted. To dropping bombs on the people who killed those children is warfare and it is just. Killing innocents is not just. My friend is a Commander in the Israeli Army and the level of training they undergo to avoid the killing of innocents is remarkable. Contrast that with Hamas whose stated goal is to kill innoncents. There's a difference- Israel takes pains to avoid killing and Hamas takes pains to achieve it. If Israel flies planes over Gaza to deter rockets, or builds a fence to keep out bombers that is called Defense. My prayer is that the intifada and terrorism will end and that life could move on for both sides, clean out corruption in Gaza, and then when can all get some sleep, no?

Imaan said...

I'll comment on that in a post, soon.

Anonymous said...

I agree with "anonymous" - for the most part: everyone is suffering under the present situation, but beg to differ about the use of sonic booms. It won't scare the terrorists for sure. So, who will it scare? The people only. So, I think they are quite unnecessary. Israel - and the IDF - should not compare itself to Hamas or other terrorist organizations.
I'm feel sorry for all the decent people that suffer under the sonic booms - they are not carried out in my name, that's for sure,

Keep your chin up, Imaan - there just is no other way...

Regards,
Tsedek

Susan said...

This is truly a sad story. There's never an excuse for targeting innocent civilians. I hope you will teach your daughters that there are many Jews who strongly oppose actions of this nature.

rosie-b said...

I have to agree with Tsedek. All that the booms do is scare the daylights out of children and civilians.
Really, sometimes I wonder if the two sides will ever realize that nothing but pain can be gained from all of this. So sad. . .

jamal said...

It must be very difficult what you are going through. I do not envy you but i do sympathise with you.

Inshallah, one day it will end.

Anonymous said...

I echo Susan in that I hope you teach your children that most Jews do not approve of these actions. I am sorry that you and your family had to endure it.....I know that it is thought of as a security measure, but I do not understand how they think this sort of psychological warfare can be effective. It clearly hasn't deterred attacks and it clearly has upset civilians.
This conflict can no longer be analyzed in terms of 'right' and 'wrong' -- both sides are always going to be 'right' in their own minds. It is engrained in the Jewish world that Israel is good and the Palestinians and Arab world want all Jews and Israelis dead. It is engrained in the Muslim and Arab world that the Palestinian struggle is just and that Israel and Jews are ruthless oppressors. Imagine for a moment -the Star of David....to Jews this is a symbol of love and harmony and liberation. It inspires happiness, comfort and hope. To Muslims the Star of David represents oppression and evil and occupation. The symbol inspires fear and hatred. To me such differences are 'mindblowing.'