Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Shrapnel Blogger

Every once in a while a newly discovered blog (new to me) or posting is so powerful that it just leaves me speechless.

The "Miracle Girl" posting about Natan and Avital Sharansky's daughter's wedding was one such example of a posting that stopped me.  It left me soundlessly with a..."wow."

Today, I found a blog, that once again, has left me rather speechless.

"Gila" the blogger (I have no idea if that's her real name or not) writes a blog, "My Shrapnel" with the byline "Life as a "Poor, Sad, Heroic, Victim of Terror"®

The trademark ® sign drew me in.

I've usually only seen trademarks on clever blogs -- and to mesh such a shocking blog title of "my shrapnel" with an obviously deadpan byline piqued my curiosity.

She describes herself:
Message from the Bombing Victim Muppet: I am, of course, neither sad, nor heroic nor particularly victimized. What I am is an "ordinary Joe" who was seriously injured seven years ago in a suicide bombing while waiting for a bus at the Machane Yehuda open air market in Jerusalem.
What's a bombing victim muppet look like?  The juxtapostion of muppet with "bombing victim" was just too much.  (I think this picture could work).

She's an her 30s.

Thirty is a dangerous year for single women. Not precisely 30. Sometimes it is 31, sometimes 32. On occasion, a particularly proactive woman might start to become dangerous at 29. But normally, it is the years starting with the number three...

She's proud to be Jewish, proud to be Israeli (or so it seems)
As relatively non-observant as I was raised and I am, I have always felt my Judaism as this giant, prominent aspect of myself, like a huge birthmark. This has been the case ever since I was a small child. The peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed in 1979, when I was in fourth grade. My teacher talked to us about this historic event (it should be pointed out that I went to a public school) and had us reenact the signing of the treaty. She asked me to be Sadat. I refused. I had to be Begin. I was Jewish. How could I be anyone else?
And...she was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
There are days when I feel like I am such a disappointment. Everyone wants to know what it is like to be blown up, and I have nothing to give them but a simple timeline comprised of three seconds. Second number one I was standing. I lost second number two. Second number three found me on the ground, conscious. I woke up stunned, but calm, and stayed that way. That is the whole story. But people persist in wanting more. I am questioned thoroughly. Surely I left something out:

“Did you notice the bomber?”
“No. Apparently she was disguised as a pregnant woman. Pregnant women are not an unusual sight in Jerusalem.”
“Well, didn’t you have a feeling that something was wrong, or a sense….”
“No, only that I had missed the last bus.”
“A premonition? Ominous dreams? Crows screeching and waking you in the dead of night?”
“Hmmm…let me see…dreams, birds…. No, I do not recall anything of the sort. There are lots of cats around, and they are noisy, but I do not think that this is the same as a black bird”
“Okay, okay, I am with you. It was a complete and utter surprise. So then you heard a boom?”
“No. I really did not hear anything.”
“Oh, but you must have felt something: the white-heat of the explosion, the shrapnel ripping into your body?”
“The searing smoke ravaging your lungs?”
“No, sorry.”
“Life passing in slow motion before your eyes?”
“Oh, there was no time for that!”
“The eerie silence followed by heartrending screams and cries for help?”
“I suppose there must have been but I did not hear it-my eardrums were wiped out.”
“And then you lay there racked in terrible pain….”
“Actually, no, I wasn’t. I must have gone into shock from the blow to the head. Lucky me!”
“You must have been terrified though.”
“Not at all. I was very calm. I even asked the paramedic to put my keys back in my bag and remembered to tell them about my drug allergy.”

Go read through her blog; start from the bottom and work your way up -- you'll be happy you did.

Israel survives because of its people; Gila's optimism, candor and humor is a perfect example.

I hope she keeps blogging.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


Gila said...

Wow! Thanks for the raving praise!

Yes, Gila is my real name. I really am proud of being both Jewish and Israeli (and American, for that matter). "Bombing victim muppet" came out of a conversation a friend and I were having about the Israeli version of Seseme Street. Suffice it to say that we determined that 1) The show needed a bombing victim muppet to be a truly authentic portrayal of Israeli life (this was 2002, in J'lem) and 2) I could be that muppet.

Thanks again. The positive responses I have been getting are so incredibly encouraging.


Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

We know her! We know her! I remember her story well - there was a whole thing raging on Janglo and other places after the bombing because she was a new olah - IIRC she was so totally ALONE and maybe didn't have ID or something...

DH was in touch with her for a while, and now we'll try and re-establish contact. Thanks Jameel!

Anonymous said...

Gila rocks! Very glad you found her and were so moved by her writing...

Gila said...

Hi Yehe--now I am terribly curious and trying to figure out who DH is.... Please email!

JoeSettler said...

I was told this shabbos of a story of a girl on Bus 18.

She was sitting down, when a young man sat down next to her.

Suddenly the bus lurched to a stop, and started again. Her Hamsa necklace broke and went flying to the back.

She got up to get it, and went to the back of the bus. When she got to the back, the young man she had been sitting next to blew himself up.

She survived.

Schvach said...

Gila is a true heroine of Zion. May HaShem grant her a life of brachot and success.

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