The sounds of roosters and air strikes. I have been watching the live stream of Jehad Saftawi, a Gaza photojournalist with the Institute for Middle East Understanding, who has a generator. He occasionally speaks to let you know what it is you are watching and moves the camera for a better vantage. The live stream cuts out then returns. It just went off the air again.
It’s not “reality TV”. It’s not a vampiric pursuit of sensationalism. It’s the establishing of a human connection and it’s important for both sides. I may not be able to do anything, as well as all the other people following and tweeting that the live stream is running, but people watch and it’s a connection.
The live-stream returns.
It’s important to know you are being seen. It’s critical. Gaza’s sole power station, which was already working at a reduced capacity of 20%, was destroyed on Tuesday. Electricity is also purchased from Israel, but 5 out of 10 of those lines have been damaged Tweets are going out that PALTEL will be shutting down communication switches in 48 to 72 hours–no mobiles, landline, broadband–and people are looking for a source for this. Even if it’s not factual, the loss of power has already, of course, impacted connectivity and the numbers of people tweeting out.
The loss of power is catastrophic as it is, never mind connectivity to the outside world.
Except that connectivity to the outside world is important for both sides. Individual to individual.
I hear Jehad Saftawi sigh and stretch in the background.
I’ve been talking with Aaron about the importance of following others to hear what they have to say, see what they have to show. Gaza, for an example. As I tell him, “I follow all these people and they will never follow me. It’s not about reciprocity in these cases. They don’t need to follow me. I need to follow them, though, to hear their stories.”
Then when that connectivity is cut, when the power goes out, the vacuum sets in, the dark, and one feels it. The rip, the abyss, the great gulf between.
Human to human, connectivity has impact, even if it is that seemingly peculiarly one-sided world of being the one who is there to listen. Human to human becomes only your number as a following presence. For some, it may not seem like it could be much worth to either side, but it is.
Human to human, loss of connectivity has impact.
Hopefully I’ve been raising a child to be aware and empathetic. Hopefully raising a child who will, as an adult, add to the pool of the conscientious who are willing to suffer the questions that come with life being fuzzy boundaries and gray areas rather than a clear and easy dualism. Raising a child to understand hatred rather than being a person who hates. I’m not talking sainthood selflessness. I’m hoping for an adult who, when they feel hate, can examine that emotion, understand it, and work with it.
Life’s a battering ram. The idea that if you just follow your dreams and believe in-just-the-right-way then the universe will flood you with success, money, fame–maybe just even lunch if you’re broke–is a peculiar kind of life-strangling philosophy that enables placing blame on anyone for any difficulty, great or small, being a matter of spiritual impoverishment, and every success being a matter of spiritual-or-moral-law-sanctioned-worthiness. That’s not humanitarian, no matter how much it insists on humanitarian impulses, no matter how much it insists it’s tapping into a source of boundless love and seeing only with love and luxuriating in it. Life doesn’t work that way and to believe in this manner is to risk losing empathy. Some are privileged. Some are not. Some are lucky. Some are not. Some make poor decisions and pay harshly for them. Others make worse decisions, negatively impacting the lives of millions, and our planet’s ecology, and never pay at all.
The bad sleep well.
It’s painful to raise a child to not sleep comfortably.