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Tuesday, February 7, 2006

More on the Police Violence in Amona, My Students Told Me...

Yes, there have been an awful lot of posts and articles about the violence in Amona, when the riot squads, soldiers and police came in force to destroy a few buildings. Some of you are probably tired of reading about it and seeing the pictures. And some of you may be wondering how come it is taking so long for people to recall and report all that happened there.

Experts in Post Traumatic Stress say that it takes awhile for the victim to be able to verbalize his or her experiences, and it's very important to do so and not repress it all.

Some of you may also be wondering why so many high school students were there instead of in school. I'll start there by saying that a number of high schools, including Yeshivat Tichonit Mateh Binyamin in Beit El and Ulpanat Ofra were there in Amona, students and many of the teachers. Students were required to get parental permission. Girls from the Ulpana (girls high school) told me that their teachers went around checking up on the students at their own personal risk. My students from the Yeshiva Tichonit (boys high school) told me that they were together with their rabbi teachers. Students from other schools just arrived to demonstrate.

Last Wednesday, when I saw a number of my students in Ofra after the "pogrom" I decided that I needed to have them write their stories. That's one of the advantages of being an English teacher. Composition writing is one of the requirements, so I decided to take advantage of it. There were no classes on Thursday, since the kids were sent home to recover. That was fine, since my tenth grade class has a double lesson on Mondays.


I wasn't sure how my fifteen year old students would react to the assignment. Teenage boys are still teenage boys, so I opened their textbook to prepare a backup lesson. I could't believe it. According to the book, the next assignment was "A Letter of Complaint."

That was it! Just the gimmick or approach I needed to help them write. That was really siyaata d'shmaya, the hand of G-d helping me.

Almost a week after Amona was the perfect timing, since the kids were feeling better, stronger and more willing to talk and even joke about it than they were last week. They also liked the idea of a letter, and we discussed the various options, to whom to write. First on their list was the "Yassamnik," the "riot police," next Olmert and President Katzav.

I'm not going to quote the letters directly, nor give any identifying material, but I'll just tell you what I discovered from their compositions. And I must tell you that it was a successful lesson. Everybody wrote, even one student who hadn't handed in a single assignment the entire year. I gave them all good grades, just for writing. This was not the time to penalize them for incorrect spelling and bad grammar.

Most of them addressed their letters to the Yassamnikim, asking them how they could have been so cruel and violent. "What did they do to turn you into animals?" That was a frequent theme.

I only discovered that their rabbis were with them when I heard the descriptions of how the police dragged the rabbis by their hair and threw them out of the window (of house #8) onto their heads.

My students described the event as a "pogrom" and "nightmare." They were beaten on all parts of their bodies, yes, all. And they told me that girls were beaten on their abdomen and were afraid that they wouldn't be able to have children due to the damage.

The kids were not prepared for violence. They were sitting peacefully, non-violent, passive resistence, just like they were instructed and that's their nature. They're not violent kids, especially this class. They were totally taken by surprise.

The only ones prepared for violence were the police and army. That's why they were all geared up for war. Reports by medics confirm that the police didn't suffer any serious wounds whatsoever, while the demonstrators did. And of course the pictures make it clear that all of the violence was by the (sic) security forces.

I received many reports of the riot police telling demonstrators that they "didn't want to hurt" they "wanted to kill." Not only was this shouted back to demonstrators asking "Why are you trying to hurt us; aren't we all Jews?" But the police kept repeating it also at the first aid stations and hospitals, even to the family of Yechiam ben Rachel.

There's something very wrong in the State of Israel.

2 comments:

Robin said...

I am really sick from reading this and mozes report http://mozemen.blogspot.com/
. Even if one person suffered sexual abuse and made infertile it makes me sick. And you say there were reports of more than one. I pray to G-d that there is a refuah Shlaima for each and every victim of this horrible visious attack!

muse said...

It was their chief tactic, hit them in the reproductive organs of both sexes.