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Cartooning in Conflict
Chicago Nov. 4-6


"Families have been notified"

Jona Bargur

Saturday morning, fourth week of war, no name! Around Haifa shells have been dropped at dawn. Miracles occurred in the suburbs of Haifa. The obstinate home- front had learned to listen to the Home Front Command and spend the nights in the apartment's protected areas (APA).

The home front supports the army and state, demanding them to carry on "eliminating", "pounding", and "cleansing" Southern Lebanon and the conviction in the righteousness of this war - "fighting for our homes"- crosses the traditional dividing lines between   right and left wingers and has unified most of the population.

And fathers mourn and mothers weep when "families are notified"                                      

Sunday, near the memorial commemorating Israel's number one soldier in modern times, who had perished and left us with the heritage of  its good to die for ones country, more than dozen reserve soldiers were killed by a direct hit of two Katyusha rockets launched by cruel fanatics who do not think twice about killing and injuring innocent Israeli civilians, whether they are Jewish or Arab,  in their attempt to destroy  the Northern part of Israel. They too believe themselves to be righteous and their battle to be legitimate, so:

Even in Lebanon the news are not all good and there too "families are being notified"

And the morning papers are filled with pictures of   young men, fallen soldiers,   in fighting over a destined land; pictures of fathers and sons and of mothers and daughters whose dreams were  destroyed when a missile directly hit their home- their fortress ; pictures of handsome pilots and brave tank drivers; of volunteering parachutes and those amazing boys of the Golani brigade. Since, "it had been a particularly hard day today" (2-3 dead soldiers make a bearable, acceptable day, as yet), their pictures will cover half the front page.

These are the names and these are the photographs that last night their "families have been notified"

And with Israel's 59th Day of Independence approaching, only their names and   last names will remain in collective memory, engraved in the marble monuments of the Yad Labanim houses. And on the next Memorial Day, their names will be mentioned in the public channel 33's account of the fallen. And the summer of 2006 will be remembered as the holiday season in which the APAs and the "shielded zones" replaced the vacation cabins. And their names will be added, each and every year, to the thousands names of the long list of Israeli war casualties and their children will be orphans and the bereaved parents will grow old and always lament the loss and waste of their unfulfilled life and their grandchildren, never to be born.  They will always remember the knock on the door, and the army boots footsteps just before the "family had been notified"

And the Minister of Defense reassures and says there is no ceasefire and the IDF  will reach the Litani River. Have the families been notified?
And the Minister of Agriculture threatens to advance even as north as the Zaharani River without even notifying the families!

And the current and former government ministers and frustrated generals and incompetent politicians see no harm in conquering Tyre, Zidon and Beirut.

As if this war had not already been fought
As if not enough families had not already been notified

And the supportive right wing opposition preaches to engage in war against Syria and Iran since we do not have any misgivings and no regrets and even if we had made some mistakes, all we can do is to apologize with our notifications to the families of the Palestinian casualties"!
And dont tell me it is inevitable, within this reality; when we are winning, "this tune just cant be stopped" because it will be in vane.  And when there are difficulties in accomplishing military achievements, we certainly wont quit, so as not to diminish our deterrence.
And dont tell me this is the price to be paid for future peace. This is the price of this current war, which must be ended now! Immediately!
And please dont say the sacrifice was justified. Young boys' death is inherently unjust. There is no acceptable price for the death of fathers and sons; mothers and their children must never be killed.

And dont say " may you be comforted from heaven" and that the Almighty God loves to keep the most beautiful flowers at his side. These families were notified not by angels or heavenly apostles, but by human beings.

 There is no condolence in the death of heroes! The dead, who had heroically perished, are not alive any more. Every parent would rather see his children alive and kicking and a lot less heroic. Every parent would do without the delivered notification, to his/her family; If only their children were still alive.

And as for all those leaders and supporters of war, of annihilation, of destruction, of death and humiliation, for whom the "family notifications" are nothing but an item recounted by the channel's news anchor, remember the words of Erasmus, the 16th century Dutch theologian, who said: "War is sweet to those who had not experienced it" and those who dont have to bear its consequences. Thus, for the meantime:
Any policy is appropriate, which may result in less, much less! "Families to be notified"
    Jona  Bargur
 The   Israeli and Palestinian Bereaved Families Forum for Peace
 Reconciliation and Tolerance


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