Atlas & Alice | Issue 5, Winter 2015/2016
resistor is a resistor. Maybe a traitor, maybe a hero, but still, a resistor. Yoav had been called for reserve duty, and he had refused. What if you just say you won’t go to the schtachim? Stav asked, but no, Yoav said, that wasn’t enough. This whole country is a fuck. The only way to fix it is to break it, and start over. He spent 85 days in jail. In California, I kept track with a marker on a long piece of paper, the dates smashing together, crowded and blurry. Beside the table under the tree, we hugged each other hard, bodies colliding and then withdrawing, as though in disbelief. “You look the same,” I told him. “Oh, Leah. How did you think I’d look? Like I live in Gaza?” “I don’t know,” I said. Amina stood nearby, silent. She had a round face and short, messy black hair and an onion tattoo on her left arm. An onion is a good thing to have with you, in case you’re tear gassed. My father told me this. I learned everything I know about protesting from my father. Cut an onion in half and keep it on you, and if you get tear gassed, sniff it, get it close to your eyes. It will reduce the irritation. You can also use milk or Vaseline, but onions are the easiest to carry. My father spent 1969 in Berkeley, surrounded by onions. The night before every Occupy action, I sliced what seemed like hundreds, put them in Ziploc bags, passed them out to my friends, just in case. We never needed to take them out. Instead, afterward, we cooked with them. Amina used her onions. She told me about it on the way back to Tel Aviv. I drove us in my father’s car, feeling like a teenager, while Yoav slept soundly in the back seat. In Hebron, the IDF had tear gassed her and her friends when they’d tried to shield a Palestinian woman from settlers who were throwing rocks from their apartments above the street. It had been onions for everyone then. I said, “You know, there are people who don’t believe things like that happen here.” “What things?” she asked. “The rock throwing? Or the part where the army tear gasses its own people?” “All of it.” She glanced at Yoav, and then turned back to me. “And you?” I said, “I’ve never had any trouble believing.” I dropped Yoav and Amina at his apartment. He flopped against her as they walked towards the entrance, managing to make the motion look light and heavy at the same time.