I too woke up this morning in Geneva to a slew of reports of the Israeli offensive against Palestinians in Ramallah. After trying unsuccessfully to reach family and friends, I met with two Palestinian friends who have been in Geneva this past week, traveling from the West Bank at great personal risk to themsleves, to conduct advocacy work to protect Palestinian children.
When they heard the news this morning, they packed their bags and made their way to the airport to try and get a flight back home, fearing for their families alone in the West Bank and of the possibility that they may not be able to return. We spent a tense day trying to fill the time from news report to news report, shocked at the images of tanks rolling down familiar streets.
It is hard to imagine what is happening to Ramallah at this moment. Difficult to comprehend the possibility that such an invasion can occur. Surreal. Having lived for so many years on those same streets, seeing them become battlefield, although not a new phenomenon to me, terrifies me. I am in Geneva, thousands of miles away, yet I am shivering with fear and apprehension, as if those same tanks were rolling down my quiet Swiss street for no real reason. Imagining what I would do if soldiers broke down my door in this Swiss town, invaded my home, destroyed my precioius possessions, abused my family, arrested my husband, broke down my wall to get through to the apartment next door. What would we do in this quiet Swiss town?
Of course this is not going to happen in this quiet Swiss town - its unfathomable. And yet the silence of the world seems to assume that this is fathomable for those in Ramallah. That killing a Palestinian woman trying to escape this unfathomable reality is not as outragous as killing a Swiss woman tyring to escape the unfathomable. That the image of a Palestinian man bleeding to death and inaccesable to paramedics is somehow not as sickening as an American man lying in his own blood outside his home.
Perhaps I am wrong. But silence is a judgement in of itself.
I will spend a sleepless night in Geneva, as so many others will around the world, worrying about the safety and fate of family and loved ones, wondering if and when the worry will end. But I will spend it writing to anyone and everyone who can stop the terror of occupation from continuing. I will not feed the silence.