“The Active Voice”

The definition of a stone: “Mineral object, piece of rock, quarried for a purpose, a pebble, precious stone, hard seed, calculous concretion, gravestone, grindstone, millstone, hailstone, smooth surface for printing, any surface for artists, playing piece, completely, to put to death, to fortify, to sharpen or smooth, to make insensitive, he who casts the first stone, leave no stone unturned.” (Taken from Dictionary.com)

The stone represents the last possible weapon against an aggressor, who had the audacity to outlaw it. It speaks of the right of a person to wage a greater, more violent response. If a person comes to you with a baseball bat, for example, you can use a gun to shoot them. A stone, however, in a Palestinian child’s hand against a Jewish soldier? “I take all rights way. I make the laws, I make you impotent. I leave you helpless.”

To me, the Jews have become what they most feared. What Hitler did to them was unconscionable. There is no way their treatment will leave their genes. Their nervous systems are impregnated. Only the strongest win, it seems. And if you want to keep something you have to fight for it and plan and scheme.

Still, like the Nazis, they were confronted and beaten. Their attitudes remain in our communities and sour our systems. It’s like tarantulas will never leave the hillsides. Snakes will never cease to slither in the jungles, nor fall from trees to suffocate.

But, the stone with so much denotation or connotation is not a paper weight. Unfinished stone is an odd object in a house. It belongs outside. I see the scattered rocks in Gaza. I see the dry atmosphere and the future as a gated community, where every other community has been stripped of life. Even when everyone is gone, like my father, who died when I was ten, he still lives in me and forms my thoughts. He makes an outline of my sadness. He is a silhouette, like a Magritte painting, called “The Active Voice.”

The above drawing is an homage to Magritte. It is a symbol of the little boys in Gaza, who throw their lives because of something that is true. Their songs are being beaten or shot. Their families are made to hunger and suffer. One generation after the next. A monster is being created and unleashed. The air of hatred is so thin that nothing can breathe. On the Dead Sea, the bodies float upside down. Nothing sinks where the salt has been thrown or where the eyes stack up.

I throw a stone for you. I want it to skip over the glassy surface, but the turbulence grabs it. The reflection in the lake is no longer clear but murky. The depths are disturbed. No fish nor bread to share. No memory of God. No prayers for the enemy. The sky is dark with dust and pandemonium.


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