Not looking away

BELLOWS FALLS-Fellow citizens,

I write to you with a request founded in feelings of love, concern, sorrow, and horror. I ask you to please take the time to watch the film The Night Won't End: Biden's War on Gaza.

Whether or not you have been taking in world news, you are probably aware of the tragedy that continues to be wreaked upon the people of Palestine.

Among the people I know and love, some of you take refuge in your life, your family, your community, avoiding the many and terrible problems that face us creatures of Earth. Understood.

Some of you attend to the news of the world from various sources - the same, similar, and very different from sources that I pay attention to. Depending on our sources and worldviews, we encounter differing versions of the story unfolding in Israel and Palestine. Some storylines ring more true to you. Others strike you as honest, authentic, describing a reality to be believed.

Mostly the subject of Gaza does not come up in the conversations I have. As with other polarizing topics, we are looking away.

Please don't look away. The cost to families very much like yours and mine is too great.

One person interviewed for the film says that the cost to the international order - as it was conceived after World War II to ensure that such horrors never again occur - is also too heavy.

If you, like me, have pondered the damage to the German people's sense of national identity as a result of the Holocaust - wondering what it must be like to negotiate the spectrum of feelings, from avoidance and denial to culpability and shame - I think you will want to watch The Night Won't End.

I think you will want to see and hear this version of the story that has been unfolding since Oct. 7, knowing that that story really began in the late 19th century and that this chapter tells only of the latest horror. I think you will want to ponder what it means to be an American citizen in the face of the decisions the U.S. government is making.

I ask you to watch the film. Watch it with a friend, because it is profoundly painful and disturbing. See what you believe. See what you don't believe. I will not ask, though I am open to hearing your thoughts and feelings. I will not judge you.

At this period in history, so many issues may be breaking hearts - yours, mine, ours. One of the most heartbreaking: There is nothing I can do. Nothing I can do! What can I do? I don't know what to do.

At the very least, we can tolerate hearing the stories told by the people who must suffer the circumstances in real life. I hold myself accountable for having the guts at least to do that.

And I hope that if enough of us begin to see a story as intolerable, we can come together and find a way to be powerful enough - together - to end the tragedy and begin the enormous project of rebuilding and healing.

With respect for all,

Amy-Louise Pfeffer

Bellows Falls

This letter to the editor was submitted to The Commons.

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