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From Holocaust to Freedom of Mind (a personal goodnight story)

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 A new curriculum, in Israel, would start teaching holocaust to children at Kindergarten. The curriculum reportedly discourages teachers from showing students archival photographs from the Holocaust.

Reading the article today I was relieved.
Finally someone is caring about the delicate young souls of the children. When I was in nursery, 40 years ago, they DID show me pictures!

Discovering the Holocaust

When I was a child there were many people I knew who had tattooed blue numbers on their arm. But even today there is no Israeli child older than four who has not seen at least three or four famous holocaust pictures, among them heaped corps and some very skinny bloated children.
At the age of three, or four, I have seen “Anna Frank’s Diaries”. Possibly I was not forced to, but the television seem to have been playing holocaust in lops for 3 days (the week before the Memorial Day of the Holocaust). There was nothing on TV but dead bodies for days, and the TV, surprisingly, was on.
They have already shown me pictures of dead babies at the nursery and being a sensitive intelligent child, I realised that something about the film is special and that my mother would be very proud if I would sit in front of the bloody TV and watch the flow of horror pictures imprinted onto my brain- so I did. And in the years to come I was forced (never again voluntarily) to watch more and more films, again and again. And I remember nothing of what I have seen, just a general sensation. It made me sick! The whole thing made me sick!
I had a tiny body, and an open mind. I was expected to feel responsible for 6 million dead people.

Discovering the occupation

So at the age of four, already drilled with heaped rotting corps, there was nothing to stop me from watching the news (the only ritual my atheist parents kept religiously). I remember, on the 9 o’clock news, bulldozers were demolishing a house of a very big family whose 12 years old son threw a molotov bottle at a passing military Jeep. I paid attention, because our house-maid whom I loved, Na’ima, stopped coming from the same reason – I have overheard that her son threw a bottle, that her home is destroyed, that all the people in the village are helping her to build a new home – Now I could see what it is about on TV, so I paid attention. My father explained to me. He never even noticed I existed, but this day was my lucky day, and watching news was surely the right way to his heart. He said the child throw a molotov bottle, so I asked whether they would also demolish our house if my brother would do the same (it had to be my brother, could not have been me) – I remember this conversation vividly, I couldn’t have been more than four years young, and I get goose bumps even today
He said
-“No, We are living in Israel, and Israeli law would not demolish our home”.
So I’ve asked
-“And Na’ima?”
-”She is living under British Emergency Law, which allows for house demolition. It was British and we occupied it but kept the British Emergency Laws”

It was a big day. I never heard about the occupation before, and I felt that I am asking very clever questions and getting unusual amounts of attention, so I went on.
-“So was the military living there too?”
-”No, we are only there to occupy” (The good old seventies, before the mass settlements)
-”So, why did the Jeep get into the village???”
-”Just to occupy.”

At that point I felt my father was getting a bit irritated. I also felt like my brain is starting to function in a different way. I kept looking at the television. People were suffering for no reason I could make sense of. I missed Na’ima. I missed her warmth, and I imagined it must be quite nice to have your entire village helping you to build a new home.
-”So by demolishing the house, the villagers get united?” I asked my last question.
I’m not certain I have waited for a reply.

I have discovered the Occupation.
I made up my mind that is was wrong, the Israelis have nothing to do in other people’s land.I was young to have such an opinion, I knew it and it made me feel proud.I was not about to carry 6 million people upon my shoulders, but I could care for the living.

Being educated

Aged 6, with a school at Yad Vashem. Photographs on the walls, light and shades making shapes on the floor. The warmth of the sun, and the chill of the rooms, and me escaping out to look at the sky.
Still 6, Dressed blue and white for the Holocaust Memorial Day. Supposedly standing still for 2 minutes we were playing games of who can make the other burst into laughter.
By the age of 10 I stopped going to White-Blue days and everything which smelled like indoctrination. I’ve already asked too many wrong questions, been expelled from too many classes, had school committees of tens of grown-ups shouting at me about national loyalty, and a few mobs in the streets trying to kill me for voicing up opinions – Finally I was given permission to study at home. School was a safer place without me in it.

Dear Sir,

Teach your children love and acceptance, their respect of the holocaust would follow.  Don’t teach them death and horrors.


Written by naturesong

April 27, 2014 at 07:58

Posted in Palestine

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