10 Minutes

10 Minutes

"You never really know what's coming. A small wave, or maybe a big one. All you can really do is hope that when it comes, you can surf over it, instead of drown in its monstrosity." ― Alysha Speer

A feeling of panic, of being caught and not able to escape. Not knowing what’s coming next and how people will react.  A fleeting thought -this is the last.  Ever feel that way?  It may or may not have ever happened to you, but it happens in this country often.  All of a sudden, you’re surrounded by a mob throwing rocks, soldiers answering with tear gas canisters.

We live, for the most part, going about normal daily activities.  We wake up, take a bus to work…call the kids after school to make sure they’ve eaten and are doing their homework. We come home, take off our shoes. That’s the day. Tomorrow it happens again.  

I cannot speak for the West Bank, but in most cities in Israel, this is a normal day.  Go to the bank, mail a letter, go out for coffee.

But then there are those fleeting, terrifying moments. Take, for instance, 10 minutes of my day on a recent Tuesday, sitting in a bus with cars behind and cars stopped in front, a demonstration surrounding us on the narrow two-lane road. It is impossible to move, impossible to know what’s going on and who attacked who, while stones, thrown by demonstrators, are landing in the road; a gas canister is exploding in front of us. Soldiers with machine guns stand not even 15 feet away and young men are running from the fumes back towards us and our bus.

The passengers are nervous. The bus driver tells them to lower the blinds on the windows (I guess to stop glass shards if a window breaks). “Turn around!” yells one woman…But there is nowhere to go. We are stuck.

Finally, and thankfully, a village elder comes out and calls to the young men, clearing a path for us. The bus driver guns past all the parked cars and passes the soldiers and their jeep. And we are back in our reality. Our normal, daily life.  

 

A Bus Stop Chat

A Bus Stop Chat

Pass the Peace

Pass the Peace