Thirty-nine years ago today, our daughter Rachel was born. An hour after her birth, I held and talked to her as her mother, Cindy, showered. Rachel was our third child, and I told her that her mother and I had some experience in raising children. I told her she would be loved, that she would not be a rich child, but that she would have a rich life. I shared that while she might not like every aspect of our parenting (particularly when she became a teenager) she had a big brother and sister to love her, to show her the ropes, and to have her back when arguments inevitably would arise. I told my daughter that her life would not be perfect, but I promised that it would be all right. This was our third child. I knew how to do this!
When Rachel went to Gaza, she took us with her, through her emails home to Cindy. After she was killed, we followed her to Gaza and met her new friends in person. We were privileged to directly experience their hospitality and to witness their struggle against oppression. We wondered at their steadfast determination to forge for their children the same sort of future that I had so rashly promised to Rachel.
Now, those friends in Gaza are engaged in an historic struggle for their future and for the future of their children. Gaza is rapidly becoming unlivable. Most of us would say it already is. The families of Gaza are demanding release from the siege that has intentionally made Gaza the world’s largest outdoor prison for over a decade. Their nonviolent protests are being met with deadly, violent repression. I am in awe of both the courage demonstrated in such protest and the desperation that makes it necessary.
One thing our daughter never did was look away. Now is the time to stand firmly with our friends in Gaza as Rachel did, look this demon apartheid squarely in the eye, and defeat it. Insh’allah.