Being Chicken, and Refugees

Chicken (and Refugees)
I am a big chicken. My friend reminded me recently that during the “hostilities” last November, after the first night of rockets, I gchatted her that “the last rocket sounded really close” and convinced her (and myself, I suppose) to head for Tel Aviv. No one seems to know what to call what happened last November, hostilities doesn’t convey much, but it wasn’t quite a war. Let’s settle for “the lobbing of explosives towards places filled with fragile and unique human bodies, too successfully by the Israelis in that 158 people were killed, which is 158 too many, and less successfully, but still too successfully by Gaza, because six people dead is six too many.”
But I want to talk about leaving Beer Sheva. As I said before, I am a big chicken. One night of sirens, and running for the corner of the house away from windows, and I packed a small bag and headed for the train. It was actually a good time to leave, my friends who left later than me had to duck for cover multiple times while trying to get to the train station.
From Tel Aviv, I went to Nazereth for a weekend, and from Nazereth I went to Afula, where my school had already assigned me for Family medicine. When patients heard where I was from, they would say “You ran away from the rockets,” but with a smile, because they had relatives sleeping on their couches, and I would insist that I was just in the north for school, but they were more or less right.
There is something very primal, very human, about the urge to run away from violence. It’s an instinct in all of us, and generally a good one.
My journey out of Beer Sheva made me think about journeys others had made. I went to Tel Aviv because I had friends there and because it is where most of the buses and trains go to from Beer Sheva. I had read once that before Israel’s independence, Gaza City was the transportation hub for the south. When a lot of people fled the violence around Beer Sheva in 1948, they ended up in Gaza.
But unlike them, I was able to go back.


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