It’s a grim Hanukkah we’re celebrating this year. If you’ve peeked at the news in the last day, you’ll know that we’re battling our largest forest fire ever here in Israel. Our eight-day celebration of lights began like no other. 41 people have died, villages destroyed, the flames are seemingly impossible to conquer, and aid from 11 countries has arrived or is on the way (including Turkey and Egypt, no less).
I will sound exceptionally callous for writing this next bit, but I’m continually fascinated by both human empathy and apathy. There must be some merit to talking about those things that are not so nice. So, without further ado: I’m as numb to this as with most tragedies. I am desensitized? Dehumanized? I feel like I should be feeling bad or at least trying to feel…bad…but it’s not happening. Israel’s a small country. But my house isn’t on fire. Yet. And it looks the same here in Tel Aviv. Sure, it’s a national day of mourning. A guy in my building even went up to help fight the fires yesterday and came back stinking of smoke. Maybe I’m just having an off day. I’m sure I was shocked and generally saddened yesterday. It’s a beautiful forest. Haifa and the Carmel is perhaps my favorite region in Israel. But why personalize it? If we all sat around crying or pretending to cry, nothing would get done. Then again, I’m pretending to work right now when I really really need to be. Does it even slightly diminish the apathy to recognize you’re apathetic?
In other news, WordPress is snowing again! I love this effect. Look how pretty the digital snowflakes appear while crossing the images of the fire.
Yeah. I’m going to go pretend to work again now, ignoring the fact that small ordinary humans succumb to their perceived impotence quite readily. Were it my house on fire, my neighborhood destroyed, would I be enraged at sentiments such as my own? Could I even understand? Maybe if there was a way I knew I could help. But I have no car, no muscles, no knowledge of firefighting, and no money to throw at the problem, either. So, I’m going to work. Maybe I’ll actually accomplish a few things on the scary massive to-do list. Perhaps that will be my day’s contribution to the endless tasks of the human race.
UPDATE: I take it back. I really do. I care, I care, I care. But what can you do? When I don’t think about it, I don’t care. It’s so friggin touchy. But there is a way to help. I just got an email from a friend who alerted me to the homeless.co.il website where they created a page for people to go on and list any extra housing or beds they have to help evacuees. People from all over the country are opening their homes, rich or poor, with extra rooms or an extra mattress. Here’s the site: http://www.homeless.co.il/herum/.