HEBRON REFLECTION: Clipping an angel’s wings

28 December 2009
HEBRON REFLECTION: Clipping an angel’s wings

by Johann Funk
She is the vision of innocence, peering up into the dull eyes of a soldier towering over her.  She can only be four or five years old.  Black slacks with a green striped short skirt fanning out beneath her short black jacket indicate that she is a kindergarten student.  She strains to hand the backpack, which is half her length, up to the soldier who orders her to stop.  He systematically opens every zipper and plunges his hands into each pocket before handing the backpack back.  It slumps to the ground.  The little girl carefully closes the zippers and with considerable effort slings the backpack onto her back; the young soldier, who has moved on to the next search, has already forgotten her.  She stumbles as she hurries to catch up with her friends.  This encounter is a significant part of her education under the Israeli occupying power, which seeks to clip her fragile wings.

I feel helpless, angry and sad all at once.  What can I do?  I observe, I document, I report but it is not enough, it is never enough to change significantly the severity of the occupation, let alone to end it.  I rationalize that what I do is part of a larger struggle but this answer is never completely satisfying.  My angel at Qitoun Checkpoint is still dehumanized as an enemy, invisible to international geopolitics, despite my feeble efforts.  All I can do is reflect, pray and enter into the suffering God must experience when he sees what is done in his name for the sake of Israeli settlers in Hebron.