Feeling through the darkness

plume of smoke from Israeli bombing in Gaza

 

The January mood has been lackluster in Lumenrose Land. I’m slowly starting to create again. A trip to see family and the current Tucson Gem Show are great excuses to keep me out of the studio. I did announce I’d be taking January slow on the production front, but there’s a heaviness I can’t escape that’s keeping me from the bench. It’s not usually like this. Most of the time I want to get to the studio at any spare moment.

 

My creativity feels dampened by my concern and anger over the Israel-Hamas war. I don’t need to keep seeing the horrific images to feel firmly that what is happening there is wrong. I don't want to keep hearing from doctors in Gaza about the abysmal conditions. I don't want to keep seeing that Israeli citizens are blocking aid trucks daily onto Gaza. But I will not turn away and bury myself in my safe, quiet life. 

 

I know you’re here for jewelry, or that's how you first came here. I’m not “supposed" to mix personal politics with business content. However, I AM Lumenrose Jewelry, and as a human who feels and cares deeply I will not be silenced by a fear of offending. I’ve stewed in worry around being seen as polarizing or crazy for talking about Palestine on my Instagram platform. My discomfort is a privilege and a pathetic excuse to avoid speaking up. So here is a tiny attempt to reach out to you and perhaps we will not feel so alone or oppositional in this moment. No matter your beliefs, I hope we can meet each other on common ground even just for a moment, as we hurt for the tragedy on both sides of this conflict.

 

Yet, life goes on. We go to the grocery store, we forget the news for a day, visit friends, focus on work. Most of us do not live remotely near the middle east and might ask What good does it do to get so worked up about a conflict so far away? I hear you. This time it feels just a bit more personal. Two things in particular play a small part in why I am more drawn to what's happening: my Jewish heritage-- my great grandfather was in a concentration camp (he survived) and I would not exist if my grandparents' families had not had the foresight and means to take their children (my grandparents) out of Germany; and my sister and a few very distant relatives live in Israel. 

 

If I had even less connection to the region, I would still feel it is always right to center the humanity of all people, especially those who've been historically oppressed. I break seeing the inhumane situation in Gaza. October 7 was horrific beyond my imagination. The children, my god, the children... The destruction, death and killing must stop. I wish for the hostages to come home, although this possibility seems evermore distant as Israel holds to its unrealistic aim of destroying Hamas at all costs. There must be a way forward that involves coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. (There is work toward this by Standing Together  that involves people-to-people connections across borders and religion)

 

But now I will share the words of others, because they are much more precise and eloquent than mine at the moment. And because I've been turning to others to learn, grasp, understand, relate and feel as I try to keep an open mind and heart.

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If you read nothing else I've linked (I know there are a lot of links), this article from the perspective of a Jewish American writer and organizer sums up how it is that we can hold many truths simultaneously in this intensely polarizing conflict.

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Here is something Neema Githere Siphone wrote on an Instagram post that hit me hard:

"I feel like a lot of us are either internalizing or projecting shame around the fact that we are having to continue to live and work amidst one of the most violent and enduring live-streamed catastrophes any of us have lived through. It’s not a good feeling. And also, shame is counterproductive. In every way, for all people. We will never actually transform ourselves or the world in the ways that we need to by using shame as a compass." 

 

I often feel guilt for indulging in my life's relative ease while I know what is unfolding in Gaza and at the US Mexico border 20 miles from my home. There are atrocities occurring at any given time on the planet, but the current moment feels heightened in a way I have not personally experience before. 

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This poem by the wise adrienne maree brown brought me to tears. Here's an excerpt. Please take 2 more minutes to read the whole thing.

 

excerpt from adrienne maree browns poem Your. Moment

 

"Let go of the systems hold on to the people". Increasingly I feel that the people and systems of power that govern us do not serve us. This is a huge topic for another midnight writing session, but it weaves its way into my understanding of this Israel-Hamas conflict. It feels fruitless to try to reach out to the system of political leaders here in the US. I leave voice messages for my senators every week, and will continue to do so, but how do I know if they hear them, if they care? 

 

I do not feel anger towards Israeli Jews as individuals, but towards their government (the people in power making the decisions), a system entrenched in a militarized, colonizer history. "hold on to the people"....I want to hold on to Jewish people everywhere who are living in a time of darkness and trauma. I can see where their fear comes from when faced with the real violence of Hamas who is hellbent on wiping out Israel and the concurrent rise of antisemitism worldwide. Somehow in this whirlwind of headlines and death tolls, Hamas is mentioned but remains like a shrouded, almost imaginary bad guy, when it was they who lit the match this time. I don't know how we hold them accountable or demand a ceasefire of them. It is infuriating. In western media so much focus is on Israel and the Palestinian people's suffering, but how do we pressure Hamas? 

 

....Deep breath....sigh.....Stay open to learning, talk with your people, don't look away, donate if you can, love the hell out of your life, treat others with kindness. 

 

The photo on the thumbnail of this blog is by Motaz Azaiza, a young Palestinian photojournalist who's made a huge impact on bringing the images of the war in Gaza to western eyes. 

 

These are a few of the things I've been reading and listening to since Oct 7 to try to understand the history of and the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine

 

~Books: Son of Hamas, I Saw Ramallah, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, On Palestine, Minor Detail, Salt Houses. 

~Podcasts: The Ezra Klein Show, This episode of Throughline, This episode of This American Life, Times of Israel Daily Podcast, this interview with an Israeli trans woman.

~News: The Intercept, NPR, Times of Israel, Democracy Now

~If you want to read a radical, mind-opening (was for me) Israeli perspective see @yehavit on IG.

 

 

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