Contrapuntal: Transforming Gaza

A Blog by Marilyn Garson

Who are we aiding in Gaza?

The blockade itself is the first anomaly of Gaza, and the immediate cause of Gazans’ suffering. That our Western governments tolerate the blockade wall is the second anomaly. The composition of our aid to the people behind that wall is the third: we bankroll the maintenance of the blockade regime. It is not true that nothing works in Gaza. The problem is that so little is tried.

Finding Temple Sinai

The Israel-Palestine conflict is no less divisive here, yet my temple responds by uniting – not fragmenting – around our Jewishness. It respects dissent as a foundational Jewish value, and comes together in prayer. Belonging is integral to Judaism; agreement is not.

Gaza – We

I lived and worked in Gaza (2011 – 2015). With an extraordinary Palestinian team and a niece in Israel, I was surrounded by smart, loving young adults. None of them wanted to raise their children in a bloody cul de sac. The music of their hope was contrapuntal.
We must transform this conflict, re-think it and resolve it.

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What’s new?

Read about multilingual social enterprise in challenging places:  Language that Works, in English Across The Fracture Lines. 

Concrete for Sukkot, When we cannot imagine living together, we shortchange all the effort that has gone into keeping us apart.  Ha’aretz Oct 8

Ahlan! Welcome to Gaza – let Gaza challenge you, as it challenged me, to re-think the community and the conflict. Tuesday, October 3, 7:00 pm, Quaker Meeting House, Moncrief St., Mount Victoria, Wellington

Ha’aretz, on the anniversary of the 2014 war, Seven Schools in Gaza.

On Gaza’s electricity crisis, in the Jerusalem Post magazine, The Future Eaters

In Gaza, Ten Years Later, the UN Country Team assess conditions.  An 11-year-old child has never known more than 12 hours of daily electricity in her life.

What is Contrapuntal?

Contrapuntal is a discussion, in the unrepresented space between the fixed extremes.
I am proudly Jewish, and equally proud to have lived and worked 2011 – 2015 with civilians in Gaza.  My colleagues, and the Palestinians around us, transformed my understanding of the conflict, and the potential for just solutions.
I want to add adjectives to our understanding of Gaza as a whole, blockaded community of two million people.  We need to recognize them as people, protect them, restore their rights, dismantle the wall that hides them, and restore Gaza to discussions of solutions.
When I speak about Gaza, it evokes curiosity, goodwill, indignation, and helplessness.  I frame the conversation in the language of human rights, legal accountabilities, and international solutions.  Those concepts equalize us.
Politics has failed.  Violence fails.  The Occupation secures no one.  The wars deter no one.  We, people, are what’s left – and I want us to act.  We can change the cost of the status quo, and raise the rewards of solution.
We must re-think this, and resolve it.

There has to be a visionary alternative, a distinction between the this-worldness which doesn’t allow us to see beyond the impossible odds in power and status, and the possibility of dreaming a different dream, and seeing an alternative to all this.

To every situation, there is always an alternative.

One must train onesself to think the alternative, not to think the accepted and the status quo or to believe that the present is frozen.

Edward Said, The Pen And The Sword, 1993