Saturday, June 22, 2013

Red Zone Courage

     Israel always had, at any point in history, some kind of threat posed to them. Since before independence and all the way up to the present day, Israel had had to bitterly fight for its borders and people with no end in sight. There were hopes of a resolution coming to pass in the 1990's and Israelis will always hope for peace, but this reality of constant conflict engraved itself into the lives of the people and has become the norm of daily life.
     I lived in Israel for 6 years before coming to the states and in that time, I was lucky enough to live in a quieter part of the state where rockets weren't launched on a daily basis and the borders are more spread out. I was too young to understand the severity of the conflict and all this added up to a rather blissful childhood. It was only after I moved to the States and grew up that I began to realize the perils of my home and harsh conditions some had to live under. Of course no amount of news reports, stories from my parents, and even pictures of bombings could prepare me for what I saw in Sderot. The people there live in imminent threat 24/7 and yet somehow manage to continue their normal routine. It's remarkable just how well they integrate their lives with the much needed added protection against rocket attacks.
     My visit in Sderot woke me up to the real danger Israel faces so much that I actually got a taste of what it feels like to live in "The Red Zone". When and if a missile is fired from Gaza, everyone in the city has a mere 15 seconds to find cover before impact. The iron dome is effective against long range missiles but these travel so low that it's impossible to intercept in mid-air. This is the Red Zone. And I didn't feel like I was at home and I didn't recognize the urgency for safety that was so familiar to our guide; all I felt was the Red Zone. However this didn't take away from the real lesson I learned from their collective experience.
     Sderot if anything, is an example of the ultimate resistance against terror. When faced with a nightmarish situation that seems to never stop, the people of Sderot became resilient by choosing to rise above. They could have petitioned the government to leave or they could have just moved on their own all together but instead chose to stay. They refused to be intimidated and found a way to continue their lives despite the danger. Buildings have been reinforced, countless shelters were built, and even the alarm became a less frightening sound to hear but the most radical adjustment made was their attitude. That courage is the most valuable lesson I got from my visit. People's lives shouldn't be dictated by fear and terror. Those who understand that live fuller lives and the people of Sderot are an exemplary instance of that case.


No comments:

Post a Comment