Monday, December 28, 2009


Sunday evening at Union Square I joined the interfaith remembrance of Gaza's dead from a year ago.    I was saddened by the line of loud and angry pro-Israel demonstrators across the street, stretching from Geary to Victoria's Secret in front of the St. Francis…and saddened maybe even more by the post-Christmas shoppers seemingly oblivious to what happened and is happening in Gaza.   


There, at the start, was Miriam, a fifteen-year old Gazan, a faint smile on her face, surprised, it seemed, by her own power, as she described the loss of her eye and her father.


It was a Jew – a later speaker from Jewish Voice for Peace – who drew our attention to a sign across the street that read "Jews don't turn the other cheek."  But I could recall one Jew who did.  His birthday was, I recalled, two days earlier.


It came time to light the candles.  A Jewish lady gave me a candle she brought.  I lit it from the flame of Miriam's candle.  We all smiled.


Candles in hand, we marched silently around the square.  I tried to make eye-contact with the uninformed, uncaring shoppers.  A few took flyers, but most hurried by in silence.


Having completed our circuit of the square, the shouted insults from in front of the St. Francis became louder, angrier.  As the two groups, lined up on either side of Powell, began shouting at - past - each other, I drifted off into the darkness of the square, past the children gawking at the giant tree, past the skaters on the ice...silent thoughts of Gaza on my mind.


Gaza was still on my mind this morning, as I engaged in my Monday morning ritual of plowing through the Sunday New York Times over breakfast.  There, in the "Books of the Times," was a surprisingly frank and favorable review of Joe Sacco's new graphic novel - Footnote in Gaza - about two earlier massacres, forgotten "footnotes" to the 1956 Suez War.  Though I was a teenager at the time, I remember them well.  They were the stuff of the beginning of an education.  (The review, well worth reading, is at  It may add to your education.)

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