Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hadad (mourning)

It's a stormy day in Ramallah, and my heart is heavy. Ten (maybe more now) children were killed in a bus crash outside Jerusalem this morning. I went upstairs in Zamn cafe to join my friends on their laptops and I didn't understand why they were so quiet. Every few minutes I heard a "tsk" or a long inhalation. Souli asked me, "did you hear about the accident?"

He'd actually mentioned it this morning, Minwar had just told us over the phone that there had been an accident. Souli said that sometimes they exaggerate these things.

Now he's distraught. It happened near his village of Hizma. He's looking at all the news stories and posting updates in all the Facebook groups. I asked if the other truck was Israeli. He said this wasn't political.

But now I see posts with Facebook screenshots, showing Israeli comments in Hebrew rejoicing in the fact that the deceased children in question were Palestinian. I don't know the news source they were commenting on, what segment of society they represent, but the post and its English and Arabic translations are going viral. George Rishmawi made a statement on Facebook that Palestinians are forced to drive on windy, dangerous roads because the Israeli wall cuts them off from Jerusalem. So much for this not being political.

I'm sad for the children and their families. I'm sad that voices of support and concern will inevitably be drowned out by voices of hate, because they keep the wheels in motion. These wheels are so hard to stop.