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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Power of the Written Word

The power of the written word By Shifra Shomron When I autograph my novel Grains of Sand: The Fall of Neve Dekalim, I sign it: "Beyond time and beyond location - into my Gush Katif." It's now nearly nine years since the expulsion from Gush Katif, and I hope readers will be able to see and feel what Gush Katif residents experienced; during the years of beauty, the shadow of Arab terror and the stuggle against the disengagement. Interwoven are themes of family, love of nature, schooldays, the importance of community, the value of the individual, and facing one's fears.

Liane Chsherbakov was a young child living with her family in Ashdod during the expulsion. She recently read Grains of Sand: The Fall of Neve Dekalim. In this book review, she explains how the current security situation as well as her university studies help her connect to Gush Katif.

Another point of view
By Liane Chsherbakov

I was a little girl, only nine years old and in fourth grade, when The Disengagement happened. So at 18 I don’t remember it well. I remember always hearing about it on the news. At the time, as well as throughout my studies, school teachers seldom spoke about it. I never thought about The Disengagement since it wasn’t close to me. I hadn’t ever been to Gush Katif, didn’t know anyone living there, and never thought about it.

I understood from the media, television and news that The Disengagement was for the good of the people living there. I saw the event like it was a road leading to peace especially since the media reported over and over again: the people of Gush Katif are getting good conditions. I never gave any thought about how the people living there felt, what the youth and kids my own age were going through or how I would feel if it happened to me.

Reading Grains Of Sand The Fall Of Neve Dekalim as an 18 years old made me see and understand the settlers’ perspective. This was an entirely new point of view for me to consider. It made me think and question. The book is told through the life of Efrat, a teenager who tries to keep her routine normal. Efrat has to deal with things that a teenager shouldn’t have to like struggling with her own government to protect her.

Thanks to this book I could enter and experience what life was like there. I connected with Efrat worrying about her test grades and studying for the bagruts. I could relate to her being frightened from projectiles because here in Ashdod we’ve also been hit by rockets – and I had to take tests and study at school, run to the bomb shelter room with all this happening around me, too. This was after The Disengagement. Where was the peace I was led to believe in?

Now that I’m studying communications at the university I am more aware of how the media affects people's opinion. The media produces a reality. The book related to my studies, as it shows the difference between the way I remember the disengagement from the media images, based on the government orders, and how the girl from the book describes the event. It's important to hear more than one side of a story.

I don’t read books often. In fact, Grains Of Sand The Fall Of Neve Dekalim is the first novel I’ve read in English. It has motivated me to read more. It wasn’t just interesting; it helped me practice my English skills. It’s written in simple language that’s nice to read.

I definitely recommend reading Grains Of Sand The Fall Of Neve Dekalim. With our political situations, an event like the Disengagement could happen again. We have to hear the side of the victim and not only the official government (mis)information, like I did before reading this book.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Liane, I recently read an article at Aish.com where a writer asked what does it take for YOU to get involved & oppose injustice. He referred to a research survey & it basically came down to how close to home negative consequences would occur. In "Grains of Sand" readers are pulled close to real live people so the can emphatize. When media marginalizes groups, people don't emphathize &, yes, media does that intentionally in many ways. What makes "Grains of Sand" more relevant today is the current Hamas Gazan Arab war on ALL of Israel which many have admitted are a direct result of the Israeli expulsion of Jews from that area. Since the consequences are being felt by ALL residents of Israel, we are now ALL able to empathize w/Gush Qatif residents of yore, residents of Sederoth & the whole south because Tel Aviv residents FINALLY got to feel what rockets over their heads is like. I know it sounds cynical, but that's human nature.

Anonymous said...

Liane, I recently read an article at Aish.com where a writer asked what does it take for YOU to get involved & oppose injustice. He referred to a research survey & it basically came down to how close to home negative consequences would occur. In "Grains of Sand" readers are pulled close to real live people so the can emphatize. When media marginalizes groups, people don't emphathize &, yes, media does that intentionally in many ways. What makes "Grains of Sand" more relevant today is the current Hamas Gazan Arab war on ALL of Israel which many have admitted are a direct result of the Israeli expulsion of Jews from that area. Since the consequences are being felt by ALL residents of Israel, we are now ALL able to empathize w/Gush Qatif residents of yore, residents of Sederoth & the whole south because Tel Aviv residents FINALLY got to feel what rockets over their heads is like. I know it sounds cynical, but that's human nature.

Batya Medad said...

Thanks so much for posting.

Anonymous said...

Am glad that this book has such a positive influence on our people, B'H. But, it does hurt to know it had to take rockets flying all over Israel and the writing of such a good book as this to make 'Jews' in Israel and the galut understand what should be a given to the Jewish neshamah. This is due to the secularization of the 'Jewish' medinah, where Jewish laws and tradition mean very little to many, and 'liberalism' is everything and moral relativism rules. Giving away Jewish Land to anyone, let alone, our mortal enemies should have been an understood by every Jew (and rational human being).