Sunday, February 17, 2008

Forever Means One Day

It was a sunny afternoon on the day the two lovers were married in the traditions of their faith. Long betrothed, the wedding was a giddying experience for the people of the town of Rafah Yam, where there is not much to celebrate these days, especially since the group known as Hamas took control over the Gaza areas.
Jamil Abded Jamad, the groom, and his new wife Amatullah, a name that means faithful female servant of Allah, were one of the lucky couples to marry in the Arab world, in that they were truly in love. Both grew up near each other in Gaza, and would see each other many a time as they grew up in the occupied territories. Over time, familiararity led to a locking of eyes as they passed each other on the dusty roads to market, and when the time came that the Israelis pulled out of Gaza, Jamil knew that the time was right to approach Amatullah's father, the way things are done in a land we can not possibly understand.
Arrangements were made, promises that I imagine included some sort of dowry, as Jamil was an up and comer amidst the devastation of an area that was virtually sealed off from the rest of the world. Hard to come by goods were a specialty of Jamil's, and he had made a modest business of procuring items that others could not. Not weapons mind you, but food and medicines that Palestinians did not have readily available.
By accounts and emails that I have received, it is said that Amatullah was the most beautiful young woman in all of southern Gaza, the wishful thinking of many a young would be suitor, and the envy of other young devout women, who would have had themselves be the ones that Jamil showed his attention to.
The wedding was a huge gathering it is said, any excuse for a massive party in the Gaza is any excuse indeed. Guests were dancing joyously, chanting Arabic phrases of praise to both Allah and the newlywed couple, wishing good fortune and long lives, and many children together. The party, nearby the Palestinian Interior Ministry building, now abandoned, was gathering a wider audience, as well wishers that didn't even know the couple came to give blessings, and of course to crash the in full swing festivities.
Jamil had wandered over to a table laden with such delicacies as al-motobug, a pastry, sigora boregi with a side dip of muhammara, stuffed olives, roasted lamb, and many other foods that Jamil was known for being able to get just as the Israeli war plane screamed overhead, dropping a bunker buster bomb on the side of the building where Israeli Intelligence said that some Hamas leaders were.
The bomb leveled one wing of the building as well as the huge gathering of nearby guests, with blood and body parts flying in all directions. People that were able scattered in all directions as the plane came back over head to asses the damage, then took off back in the direction of Israel.
The tables of food were so much pulp, mixing with the blood and the dirt, as screaming men and women, some missing limbs cried out for help. The music no longer played. The dancing was over, and as Jamil, blood running from his head, stumbled into the center of where the party had been, there lie Amatullah, legs blown off, most of an arm gone, her hair all but singed off by the heat of the blast, and very much gone from this world.
Jamil's wailing and the moaning of the gathered could do nothing to bring back Amatullah, nor the joy that had been in the air but moments before. The injured could hear the sirens coming, as rescue efforts got underway. The Palestinians have rescuing survivors of air strikes down to a science it is said, due to the amount of times they have had to do it.
In the aftermath of the attack, a response by Israel to Hamas rockets being fired into their land, Palestinians were enraged, as many pointed out that the Israelis had chosen an empty building to bomb, and as many point out, the Israelis have the best intelligence apparatus in the world. The feeling was that the site was chosen because of the huge gathering, and the bride that was killed along with the 50 other seriously injured people were the intended targets of the attack, but we know that can't be true, as that would be a war crime to purposely attack civilians, as well as an act of terrorism.
Without trying to say who is right and who is wrong in this conflict that, just like Iraq, has no clear end in sight, it should be noted that Hamas has imposed itself on the Palestinians of the Gaza strip. They are the ones launching mortars and rocket fire at the Israelis, not the civilian population. They have made themselves legitimate targets for retaliation, and a nation that has intelligence services far superior than ours can not possibly say they did not know the building they were bombing was empty, because it had been abandoned for months. It gives credence to the claims that the huge wedding party was indeed the target after all.
This madness must stop. Some country, some nation that is not in the pocket of Israel must step into the vacuum we pay lip service to filling, and mediate an end to this killing field. Because the Palestinians in Gaza are literally sitting ducks, with no protection as Hamas continues their ruthless attacks, seeming not to care about the reprisals they must know their actions will bring.
And with the Israelis not caring, and possibly even targeting civilians in their reprisal attacks, then The Hauge must get off it's backside and start looking at these retribution attacks, and demand accountability.
Because if someone does not stop this from continuing, then people like Jamil, for whom forever meant one day, and the people who were there on that fateful day, will forever become jihadists, hating Israel, hating America, hating everyone who they feel has slighted them, and the bloodshed will never end.
Whoever you pray to, whatever faith teaches you your morals, take a moment today to say a silent prayer for Amatullah, the most beautiful woman in all of southern Gaza, who did nothing more than want to be a wife and a mother in a war zone not of her making. Batmanchester

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