Israeli Soldier Chased a Kindergarten Girl
20 December 2009, by: Johann Funk, she is the vision of innocence, peering up into the dull eyes of a soldier towering over her. She can only be four or five years old. Black slacks with a green striped short skirt fanning out beneath her short black jacket indicate that she is a kindergarten student. She strains to hand the backpack, which is half her length, up to the soldier who orders her to stop. He systematically opens every zipper and plunges his hands into each pocket before handing the backpack back. It slumps to the ground.
The little girl carefully closes the zippers and with considerable effort slings the backpack onto her back; the young soldier, who has moved on to the next search, has already forgotten her. She stumbles as she hurries to catch up with her friends. This encounter is a significant part of her education under the Israeli occupying power, which seeks to clip her fragile wings.
I feel helpless, angry and sad all at once. What can I do? I observe, I document, I report but it is not enough, it is never enough to change significantly the severity of the occupation, let alone to end it. I rationalize that what I do is part of a larger struggle but this answer is never completely satisfying.
My angel at Qitoun Checkpoint is still dehumanized as an enemy, invisible to international geopolitics, despite my feeble efforts. All I can do is reflect, pray and enter into the suffering God must experience when he sees what is done in his name for the sake of Israeli settlers in Hebron.
Checkpoint, by: Johann Funk
huddle behind razor wire
against an icy December storm
workers from Israel
returning for eid al adha
shivering for five long hours
soldiers in combat gear
clutching stacks of identity cards
handing them back like candy
Occupation Illuminates the Incarnation of Jesus, by: Paulette Schroeder, 20 December 2009.
It strikes me as strange that in the midst of soldiers, guns, checkpoints, detentions, humiliations, in the face of the Occupation and all its flagrant dehumanization of the Palestinians, I have come to see the Occupation’s spotlight illuminating the beauty of Jesus’ Incarnation. Call it a curious cause and effect.
The Occupation degrades, pushes the vulnerability buttons in human nature: anger, rage, intense sadness, a temptation to hopelessness, a fierce need to survive, and to protect.
The Incarnation, on the other hand, celebrates life, lifts up human nature, elevates all that is possible for human beings to be for the other: service, sacrifice for the welfare of the other, thinking well of oneself, and of one’s body with all its amazing functions including its eyes into the world.
The joyous proclamation of our Christian Incarnational faith makes all that is truly human both beautiful and profoundly holy. Jesus enjoyed his humanity and upheld the dignity of all. He experienced and preached about everyday aspects of life: the birds, the flowers, bread, wine, and sickness.
I shall be here in the West Bank for Christmas this year. The contrasts I see intensify my desire to work diligently to undo Occupation through media, through friends, through writing. The reality here pushes me to celebrate passionately, to give generous thanks for Jesus, Emmanuel. This real Incarnational faith sustains, leads all Christians to live life abundantly, to work for justice and to open the doors for those denied their humanity.
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