Fear

“I see you looking over your shoulder
Tell me who do you think is out there 
……

I’d rather die than fade away
I read the rules
And yeah I know them
Still you ain’t ever gonna
Make me play the game of
Fear “
 Fear, Bon Jovi – from Keep The Faith, 1992

No one can argue that the current situation here is not  frightening. People going about their daily business getting stabbed is hardly normal.

Back in the 1990s, when I lived in Jerusalem, the preferred modus operandi of terrorists was to detonate themselves on buses. I won’t go into too much detail, because thinking about it triggers a certain amount of post traumatic stress disorder in my brain, and produces photographic memories that I will never be able to erase. Suffice to say, that back in those days, when I relied on public transportation to get everywhere, getting on a bus was easier said than done. Twice “my” bus was blown up. Twice, thank God, I wasn’t on it. Other buses that I frequently took were also blown up. On multiple occasions I chose to get off a crowded bus and walk to my destination, even if it was still a couple of miles away. It felt safer to walk, than to risk being on a crowded bus, and making myself a potential terror statistic.

Until Tuesday, taking the bus felt safer than walking, with this current rise in attacks. And then a terrorist got on a bus in Jerusalem and started stabbing passengers, Last night it happened again in Jersusalem – thankfully this time, only one passenger was stabbed.

This morning my husband dropped me off at the health clinic to get a flu shot. In the center of town. After my shot, I walked to the mall and bought a pair of shoes. Then I remembered a book I needed to pick up, so I walked from the mall  back through the center of town to get the book. From there, I waited at a crowded bus stop, on a busy street in the center of the city, to take a bus home.

It was only as I walked the 7 minutes from the bus stop to my apartment that I realized something. I hadn’t felt scared all morning. I went about my daily life as normal. I am always alert when I walk around – I was in the US too, where I was far more fearful of being held up at a bank, or a gas station. I rarely use my phone when I’m walking in the street, and today I left it in my purse the entire time I was out. Contrary to what you may have read on Facebook, I did not have my big golf umbrella with me  – it’s a lovely sunny day here. I did have my new shoes in their box, which I could have swung at anyone trying to carry out an attack.

I realized, when I got home, that while I’m scared by the situation in general – the attacks are in random places all over the country – I am not scared to live my life here. I’m worried about my kids – they normally have so much independence, but right now we are not allowing them nearly as much freedom. I’m nervous that this will continue for months, and that the number of casualties will continue to rise.  I still feel safer than I did in America. I don’t worry about walking into the bank, or getting gas, or about school shootings.

Stop the madness. Stop the hatred. Stop the incitement. Stop the violence. But I won’t play the game of fear.

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