>>Israel's assault on Gaza has exacted the bloodiest toll of civilian lives yet, when the bombing of UN schools being used as refugee centres and of housing killed more than 50 people, including an entire family of seven young children.
The UN protested at a "complete absence of accountability" for the escalating number of civilian deaths in Gaza, saying "the rule of the gun" had taken over. Doctors in Gaza said more than 40 people died, including children, in what appears to be the biggest single loss of life of the campaign when Israeli bombs hit al-Fakhora school, in Jabaliya refugee camp, while it was packed with hundreds of people who had fled the fighting.
Most of those killed were in the school playground and in the street, and the dead and injured lay in pools of blood. Pictures on Palestinian TV showed walls heavily marked by shrapnel and bloodstains, and shoes and shredded clothes scattered on the ground. Windows were blown out.
Hours before, three young men who were cousins died when the Israelis bombed Asma elementary school in Gaza City. They were among 400 people who had sought shelter there after fleeing their homes in Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza.
Abed Sultan, 20, a student, and his cousins, Rawhi and Hussein Sultan, labourers aged 22, died. Abed Sultan's father, Samir, said the bodies were so mangled that he could not tell his son from the cousins. "We came to the school when the Israelis warned us to leave," he said. "We hoped it would be safe. We were 20 in one room. We had no electricity, no blankets, no food.
"Suddenly we heard a bomb that shook the school. Windows smashed. Children started to scream. A relative came and told me one of my sons was killed. I found my son's body with his two cousins. They were cut into pieces by the shell."
The UN was particularly incensed over targeting of the schools, because Israeli forces knew they were packed with families as they had ordered them to get out of their homes with leaflet drops and loudspeakers. It said it had identified the schools as refugee centres to the Israeli military and provided GPS coordinates. >>
The Charlottesville Peace and Justice is joining the nationwide call for an end to US funding of the Israeli attacks on Gaza this Saturday, January 10, 12pm at the Federal Courthouse.
just over a year ago, i gave a presentation for the ending of adamah, a 3 month jewish farming program in connecticut. i told my fellow community members that i am a musician, a healer, and a community builder.
now i find myself balancing these three:
frantically learning new tunes for this saturday's gig with the accordian death squad, biking across town to band practice with my violin on my back. busking on the downtown mall.
studying to be a doula, scheduling massage practices with my massage therapist housemate. bartering massage for mending.
helping create community in this house and in charlottesville, networking, scheming, connecting. cooking dinner and apple crisp for my housemates. digging up the garden and somehow attracting a crowd of eager volunteers. creating a vision statement for a new community.
during the past 2.5 years of travel, tumult and transition, i've yearned continuously to settle down and put down roots. and now that i'm finally blessed with the opportunity to do just that, i can see so clearly that the depth and quality of my life right now is directly related to that extended period of exploration and experimentation.
Born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (that beautiful chunk of land bordering lake superior that's connected to the mitten via the Mackinaw Bridge), i escaped to the east coast as early as possible. After 6 years of uppity schooling, i spent a year in New York City and a year travelling the States before settling down at Twin Oaks Community, an intentional, income sharing community of 90 people on 450 acres in central virginia. at the same time i joined a nascent klezmer band, the vulgar bulgars and spent the next 3 living the bucolic life of a farming klezmorim.