I sat my children down and talked to them about Israel.
I started by showing them the #GazaName video from the website Jewish Voices for Peace.
I was holding off telling them about Israel because there are quite a few Israelis at their school and I didn't want the girls to have a view that would tarnish their friendships in the fall (I have no worries how they view Jews because they see me positively interact with them all the time).
Yet when I found out about yet another UN school bombing this morning, I realized they need to know what Israel is doing to children.
So when they came in to wish me a صباح الخير (sabah el kheer is good morning in Arabic) I had a heart to heart with each one individually about a country that refuses to take responsibility for it's actions and showed them the video. They recognized some familiar faces, but were sad at what they were holding up.
My youngest simply looked at me and asked "but what did the Palestinian children do that was so bad?"
But I had no answer for her and turned my computer off so we could start our summer day. We went to an early matinee movie this morning, but what they saw must have affected them, because we continued to talk about Gaza on our way home.
They talked about ways they could help the children of Gaza and choose to participate in the project, just like some of the other kids in the video. But instead of the names, they wanted to do something different. My oldest mentioned the movie they had just seen (Kung Fu Panda 2) and how unfair that kids in Gaza weren't spending their summer vacation seeing it too.
I told them about a project I had started on Twitter on July 23rd of listing things that kids in Gaza could be doing right now. The girls decided to do some of the things (I put my foot down on the smoking one) and I would post them with the #WhatGazaChildrenCouldBeDoing hashtag.
We selected to reword the original hashtag from "Should" to "Could" because these are things Palestinian children can't do since Israel is bombing their homes, schools, hospitals, and as we have all seen, beaches.
While the Israel and Hamas continue to fight and people on the internet like to argue about "both sides" and "where rockets are kept" my daughters wanted to remind everyone that children are the real victims here. Close to 200 now.
Instead of being casualties, they should enjoy being children.
I will collect all the photos and post them here. (Update: I have since created a Pinterest board - What Gaza Kids Could Be Doing since the photos were getting lost in my IG account) We will continue this project until Israel stops killing children. We pray we won't be doing this for long.
Here are the activities I posted on my twitter account on July 23rd:
Opening a new box of paintbrushes.
Buying the latest edition of SpiderMan.
Dreaming about the feel of a new Eid dress on your skin.
Making baklawa with Taita and smelling the henna in her hair.
Checking on the tomato in Jadde's garden to make sure it's ready for tonight's taboulah
Challenging Omar to the epic of all marble games on the rooftop while you wait for the adhan
Reading Harry Potter, Lord of the Flies, Nancy Drew, 1001 Leagues Under the Sea, Warriors
Playing with Legos.
Making memes for Grumpy Cat.
Going to summer school for spending too much time passing notes in algebra.
Sneaking a cigarette from their uncle & spending the afternoon throwing up in the bathroom.
Hanging out at the mall to waste time, but statically avoiding the food court (it's Ramadan, after all).
Going to Urgent Care because they stuck a marble up their nose
(it was a double dare from Omar!) #PT
Building a theme park in creative mode on Minecraft.
Meeting your fellow Girl Guides for a field trip
Going to the souk to buy decorations for Eid.