12 March 2015

Any man’s death diminishes me

I want to remind you that four years ago, on the night of 11 March 2011, cold blooded murder was done.

Two Palestinian young men broke into a house in Itamar in the West Bank and killed five Jews. Ehud Fogel, the father, was stabbed to death; Ruth, the mother, was stabbed and shot to death; Yoav, their eleven year old son, had his throat slashed; Elad, their four year old son, was stabbed and strangled; and Hadas, their three month old son, was stabbed, his head reportedly severed. The murderers missed two other children in the house. The five bodies were found by the twelve year old daughter on her return from a youth outing.

The murderers were caught and jailed.

Alas, there have been many other deaths in the Middle East but on this tragic anniversary my focus is here.

I give the bare facts. You can fill in the context, the explanations, the denunciations from every quarter including Palestinians; and the celebrations – yes, some people in Gaza celebrated and some called the murders “heroic,” and you can decide what you make of that. You can decide what at bottom you think, what judgement you make, who you weep for. But, first, take a moment to think of these five adults and children, dead, and their family with only memories.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
– John DONNE