Elena — who asked that only her first name be used — is part of a Palestinian-American family. They have been Westport homeowners for over 30 years.
She is a retired New York City school principal, with many years’ experience as a teacher and staff developer. She has an Ed.E. from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Until the horrific events of the past 3 weeks, we always felt very fortunate to live in such a beautiful town, with progressive, fair-minded leaders and considerate, friendly neighbors.
In the past 3 weeks though, we have felt increasingly isolated, anxious and vulnerable.
Today I, as a tax-paying resident, decided that my voice, speaking for my family, needs to be heard.
While Westport is still beautiful in all seasons, and we still have wonderful neighbors, the message throughout town this fall is loud, clear and one-sided: “Support Israel! Place Israeli flags on town property!”
I too support Israel, as it seeks to flush out Hamas and obtain justice.
That is its right.
However, I do not support what Israel is actually doing, and has done in the past, albeit on a smaller scale: exacting revenge on all Palestinians in Gaza.
Everyone knows that more than 8,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom were children, were killed in Gaza by Israeli bombs during the past several days.
More Palestinians are bombed each passing day, as they await death in their homes, hospitals and on the open road.
How can one comprehend these horrific facts and not feel outrage?
This is mass, wanton killing, not the targeting of terrorist killers.
Let’s call it by its name: genocide.
And once again, all Palestinians are effectively de-humanized and perceived to be “terrorists“ in many parts of this country, while being ignored by most elected officials at all levels of government.
I do not think that this will change in my lifetime.
My husband and I, members of a large and proud Palestinian family, are worried sick about our relatives in Israel and Palestine.
We also feel like strangers in our own town, once a refuge. We can only imagine what would happen were we to display the Palestinian flag on our lawn.