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The Tragedy of Oct. 7

Horrific. The only word I can think of to describe the disaster in Israel that began on Oct. 7. Horrific, appalling, monstrous. Words do not begin to express how you feel reading that 40 of your people’s babies were beheaded and burned alive. Nor do words begin to describe what felt like deafening silence plaguing the world regarding these heinous acts. 

I couldn’t help but feel alone as my Israeli friends attended the funerals of girls raped and then killed, while the same deaths went mostly ignored in America. The murder of 1,400 Jews should be important enough for an Instagram story, at the least. 

Hamas attacked Israel from the land, air, and sea. Whole families were massacred while eating a Shabbat meal. And yet social media went largely silent. It felt like those without connections in Israel or Gaza had nothing to say. Somehow, the intimate and torturous slaughter of Jews in their own homes did not elicit condemnation. That is, until Israel began dropping impersonal bombs on Gaza in response. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that carpet bombing Gaza is right. I am instead questioning why people are quantifying death. Can we not agree that any loss of life is heart-wrenching, no matter the victim’s religion, race, or sexuality?

When people did speak up, it seemed to always be about the importance of context. But context weakens condemnation. It’s as if Israel is held to a different standard. Other countries would be expected to defend their people after a terror attack, but Israel must defend its right to protect itself. 

Al Jazeera and The Guardian have published articles labeling many Jewish Israelis as colonizers. Part of their argument is that historically there were larger numbers of Palestinians than Jews living in Israel. However, that statement ignores the history of exile and colonization that Jews have experienced. 

The Palestinian’s plight is not solely Israel’s responsibility. There are expectations that only Israel can solve it, but they will not be able to resolve it independently. The other border of Gaza, Egypt, is often ignored in the media. Egypt does not allow entry to Palestinians. Unlike Israel, they do not even allow Palestinians to enter with work permits. Fellow Arab countries like Jordan and Syria do not open their borders to Palestinians either. In other parts of the world, wars are fought and refugees are created and resettled. No one remains a refugee forever.

You may be wondering why the Oct. 7 attack has been so heartbreaking for Jews around the world. It rekindled Holocaust trauma. Children hid under their parents’ dead bodies as Hamas searched their homes. When asked how they knew to do that, they said that’s how their grandparents survived. In Berlin, Stars of David have been graffitied on Jewish homes in haunting resemblance to Nazi Germany. You also may be wondering why many Jews world-wide are calling attention to the recent attacks. We speak up now because we were silent before.

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Stella Gegax
Stella Gegax, Staff Writer

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