Ok certainly it is clear that the disengagement has had a profound impact upon me. Rachel Ann tipped me off to some more stories that deserve some recognition. This next selection relates the story of a woman who threatened to kill herself and her children. It also speaks to the pain of a family whose children are amputees because of terrorism.
“I built this house and paid up the mortgage in full;I didn’t take over anyone’s property. I raised six children here in a beautiful manner – look at them! I never could have succeeded this way on the outside! And now you’re throwing me out – to what? They promised me all sorts of things, but they carried out nothing. The caravilla they’re promising us is not even ready. What, they’ll put me in a hotel? You think I’m in the mood to sit in a hotel now for two weeks? And my husband – I don’t know if I’ll be able to continue to live with him anymore.”
In a chilling ending to the exchange, in which the army officer was barely able to respond, the woman then said, “I never hurt anyone, but I want to stay in my home. If I have to shoot myself and my children, I will.” She then turned around and walked to the house.
This exchange was recorded on the air of Army Radio. The anchor, Yael Dan, was somewhat shaken up by the threats, and quickly reached the woman and put her on the air. At the same time, she also put Noga Cohen, mother of three amputee terror victims, on the air. Noga said, “Ofrah, I’m with you in pain; we are all crying. But Ofrah, let’s not do more to ourselves than they are doing to us. They’re taking our homes, they’re taking our communities, let’s not go even further than them…”
Noga said, “I also am not able to leave here. I’m not leaving, and we have not packed. But when the soldiers come to get me, I’ll get up and go – it’s not their fault, and I have no interest in fighting with them.”
Ofrah did not withdraw her threats, but sounded somewhat more calm. She said, “I never expected myself to react this way – but who knows how I’ll react on Wednesday when they actually come to forcibly evict me?”
Asked about her children, Noga Cohen said, “I have asked them many times if they want to stay here until the end, and do they want the soldiers to actually take them out? And they said yes; they want to talk to the soldiers face-to-face; they feel that they will be able to change their minds. They have a need to fulfill their mission until the end.”
Q. “What, they feel that they are on a mission?”
A. “Of course they do! What, do you think they feel that they lost their legs for nothing? The problem is that this mission is falling apart in front of their eyes – and we have to make sure that they realize that it is not falling apart. The immediate goal won’t be fulfilled, but we know that not one soldier killed here lost his life for nothing. My husband went to meet with Ariel Sharon yesterday – and Sharon simply didn’t answer him at all.”
Dr. Nitza Kalish, a social worker in Gush Katif, said that there have been “many” others who have threatened to take their lives as a result of the situation. “We are going from house to house wherever there are these threats,” she said, “with a psychologist when necessary, and try to deal with them.” She said that what is absolutely necessary at present is that the communities remain together.”
This photo essay about the Gush Katif cemetary also really grabbed my attention.