Earlier today Salty wrote about an email she got from the Hillel foundation about how a convicted Palestinian hijacker, associated with the infamous Black September Group, is to address participants via Skype at a Palestinian student led event on her campus this weekend. *shakes his head* It twisted my guts into knots. Which is shocking to me considering the things I see around here on a daily basis, like ‘I secretly think Nazis are soo hot, yum’ blogs and antisemitism that is just shocking… but this stuck a knife in me and at my age that is unusual. You see I’ve become very jaded about the world and my fellow humans, so I don’t normally get my gits twisted up… i scream, I rant, I shout and curse, sometimes so creatively that I leave my wife in a fit of giggles.
I tried to figure out why this got to me so I wrote this earlier:
“It’s 1972, September. I’m a kid, small, but not unaware. The old man, my grandfather, is watching sports on the TV, the paper in his lap. I’m playing with something on the floor, some toy, I don’t remember what. The sports show, ABC I seem to recall, suddenly is interrupted… by itself? Black and white flickering shadows of men, men talking, fear, dread, shock in their voices, blurry images of some big building in a place called Munich. The hair stands up on my neck because the room I am in just went still. The old man is holding his voice, the paper falls to the floor, he moves fast, big man, hard worker, construction engineer, always could move fast when he wanted, I start to try and move but he walks over me, not touching me once and turns the volume dial on the TV savagely. Howard Cosell, was it Cosell? Is talking, his voice like stones falling down a well, murder? death? they are killing them.. a body thrown out… blood, shots, no word yet, police… I hear the old man say something low, his voice is like I have never heard it “Take the boy out of the room” simple, quiet, but fierce. Bed for me, scared, not knowing why, something bad has happened, will it happen to us, to me, to the Old man and us all? Later I get up, sneak on tip toes, the old man is in his chair still watching the horror on the TV, his hands are fists, white knuckled, the old woman is tense, jaw set.. I hear the name, it chills my blood then and now ‘Black September’…”
I’ve spent the rest of this evening trying to shake off that childhood shadow, a boogeyman. Tried to understand why. I think I know why now and I’m going to set it down here and be rid of it.
The old man was scared. Now, let me try and explain, my grandfather was a bulk of a man, a construction engineer, tough as nails, and afraid of nothing and no one, accept perhaps G-d. He was my mountain, my Moshe, I adored him, and he gave me strength. I had seen him cry silent tears, and learned that such was allowed, ihad seen him happy, drunk, laughing, quiet, furious, angry, worried… but never… NEVER scared… and that was what it was, why my guts twist into knots… a TV, a black and white picture box scared him because of what he saw happening at that Olympic Village, what it meant, what it brought home, to a man that was sent to the Pacific theater because he was not allowed to serve in Europe.
Yeah, that’s it.. that shadows in a box can frighten even huge men, strong men, indomitable people, people of worth, and goodness. Because some shadows cut like knives. *nods*