July 17, 2006

Give me Disneyland or give me death!

What a world to bring children into. I got copies of the July 13 New York Times and the Austin American-Statesman for the twins to have, and the front page is all about fighting breaking out in the Middle East and Americans' civil rights being taken away. The transpo guy at the Statesman was joking that twenty years from now, maybe they'll look at the paper and say, "Wow, back then, gas was only $2.89 a gallon!"

CNN.com has solicited emails from people affected by the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Most of these are from people wondering how they're going to survive, and regardless of whether they're Israeli or Lebanese, expressing their empathy with the suffering of the people in the other country.
I am 16 years old, and live in Beirut, Lebanon, with my mother and three siblings. My father left last Tuesday, back to Bahrain, where he works. After two days, the war began. What I had hoped to be an exciting and fun-filled summer turned out to be a nightmare. Not only are we separated from our father, we live every day in dread that the situation will worsen and turn into a regional war including Iran and Syria. We are Lebanese Canadians, and are hoping to be evacuated, but every time we try and call the embassy, the line is busy. My dad worries more each day, longing to be close to his family, calling us constantly every day. A few days ago I was worrying about how I was going to be able to stay at home everyday. Now I worry about how I'm going to stay alive.
Lynn El Bizri, Beirut, Lebanon

I'm 33 years old, living in a town 50 km south of Haifa... My wife's sister and her family have fled the north and came to live with us. We too are in the range of Hezbollah missiles, and we have nowhere to run. I wish the world would stop choosing sides by religion. I don't care if he is a Muslim and I am a Jew, I care about my year-old son, and I'm sure a Lebanese man is worried about his. I wish I could just stand in front of a TV camera and yell "STOP."
Nimrod Ganzarski, Pardes Hana, Israel
But then comes this letter:
I wanted to share my thoughts about the price that our children are paying. Here in Israel it is now a period of two months of holiday. Kids have all kind of options how to spend their vacation time: summer camps, day camps, water parks, trips around the country, etc. Everything was canceled!!! The kids are so disappointed, they have been waiting the whole year for this long vacation, and instead of that, a third of our country spends it's [sic] time under shelters! I hope this war will make possible for our kids to have many more quiet summers to come after!
Taly, Modeen, Israel
People--including children--are dying in Lebanon and in Israel, and their homes and livelihoods are being destroyed, and all this woman can do is grouse about how her kids' vacation is spoiled because they have to spend their time in shelters. How insensitive! At least they have shelters! I think that if someone started lobbing bombs at Central Texas, I'd be worrying about more than Schlitterbahn being closed. Oh, but then she looks on the bright side--one summer of inconvenience is a small price to pay for having Lebanon blown to smithereens, after which the Lebanese will be too busy trying to locate food, clean water, and a place to sleep to ever interrupt her kids' precious vacation plans again.


Unknown said...

I had to read the last letter twice, after the heart felt emotion of the first two it just didn't make sense. Then, I realised, the writer really was that shallow. I echo your comments. If that is all she has to worry about then she is far luckier than many in that region.

Anonymous said...

... one summer of inconvenience is a small price to pay ...

The last e-mail may be shallow, but your comments were past cold; cruel, sadistic.

Even if sarcasm, how cold your heart thousands of miles away, fat and happy?

People want normal lives, and you insinuate that this woman would be happy to see others suffer.

Pack your bags and volunteer for relief work in the war zone on both sides. So maybe the children were looking forward to some fun with family. That is not a crime. They are children.

Help clean up so all children have a chance while the summer holidays remain, and can have a few happy moments as children.

It is easy to point the finger at other people from the top of your mountain of plenty. That commands no respect. Do the hard thing and put your sweat out with a broom, a ladel, a hammer.

Then we can sit together and laugh at how silly we all were, and enjoy each other's company at the end of the day.

ArsenicJulep said...

How am I being cruel or sadistic? I was using irony to demonstrate the plight of the victims. I was pointing out that the summer is ruined for children on both sides, especially those who not only have to stay in shelters, but whose houses and schools have been destroyed. Many more Lebanese have been killed than Israelis, so those children who lost family members have more to worry about than a missed vacation.