Monday, September 21, 2009

Rosh Hashanah Rockets

Jacob Shrybman
Sun Sep 20 2009 14:19:06

It is true that there were no direct physical casualties from last night's rocket fire- but that doesn't explain what happened here in Sderot, Israel last night. My family lives in Silver Spring, Maryland- thousands of miles away from where I live and work. I spent the family oriented holiday Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, with amazing families in Sderot, Israel where I work and live.

After a long day of eating, drinking, and celebrating I arrived home to take a relaxing shower and go to bed. As I got out of the shower with my towel the night silence was lit up and my relaxed body turned into a racing heart beat and quivering legs. The echoing "Tzeva Adom" (Color Red) reverberated in my first-floor apartment in Sderot as I huddled in its most sheltered area- the corner of the kitchen next to the refrigerator. Then suddenly the sheer silence as the alarm finished was swiftly broken by a not so distant explosion. Since I work for Sderot Media Center two qassam rockets had just clocked me into work at just before 1am- and I was out the door running down the street to get my camera.

Why has the world bought into this misconception that the rockets have stopped as more than 250 have struck Israel in the past eight months?

Last night, the two rockets with doubled explosive warheads that the recently debuted Al-Qaeda terrorist group Ansar al-Suna fired at civilians was out of the news in minutes as usual, as thankfully there were no casualties.

Why is it such a struggle to make people listen to what is happening here in southern Israel? If President Obama gives his wife a "fist-bump", the whole world knows about it and is giving "fist-bumps," Yet, no news coverage is given to thousands of people running from rockets in the Holy Land over the New Year's holiday.

Thankfully there were no casualties, however, that is not at all reporting any of the stories of what happened. Here are just three short stories of the thousands that occurred.

Today, the day after, as I was eating lunch with my friend from work I asked him if he was asleep when the Color Red alarm went off, and he told me he was. Knowing that he is a bit lazy, I asked him if he got out of bed when it sounded. He answered me, "Of course, because everyone was yelling and screaming throughout the whole house." This comes from a family that never talks about the rocket fire existing.

After one lunch I stopped in to wish some other friends a happy new year. Over a cold glass of grapefruit juice this mother was telling me how some of her kids had finally started sleeping on the second floor of their home, as the family sleeps in the living room on the ground floor for years now because of the rockets. She said but after last night when they all jumped up and ran into their sheltered room on cue from the Color Red alarm they have been scurrying around the house like traumatized mice.

After a cold drink and catching up with some friends I arrived at another close friend's house for their holiday bbq. Amongst the festivities, I asked my friend how she was doing after the Color Red alarm last night. She, who takes 6 daily pills for coping, told me she was surprisingly fine. She continued to tell me that it only took her an hour to fall asleep after calling her pregnant daughter to check how she was doing following the alarm. She shifted to quietly explain to me how her 14 yr-old son jumped out of bed from the alarm and for awhile following was having trouble breathing from the panic attack he was having.

Due to the normalization of this rocket fire has it become boring to the rest of the world to hear about these acts of terror?

As millions of parents around the world send their kids off to their first weeks of school this September, is it not striking that there is an entire generation of children in Sderot suffering from the reality of not knowing life without consistent rocket fire?

Once again, it is true that there were no direct physical casualties from last night's rocket fire- but that doesn't explain what happened here in Sderot, Israel last night.

This Rosh Hashanah, away from my family I started the new year crouching to protect myself from incoming rockets, while thousands of miles away my father was taking a digesting walk and my mother was reading a book on the couch. People are physically detached from this reality of rocket fire but ignorance is no excuse.

As we start the new year, the rockets are still striking here so how long do the people of Sderot have to wait until the world listens?.

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