I grew up in a home where the least bit of self-expression
might result in my mother having a cancer-induced
seizure. Perhaps even death. And I was the youngest.
Everyone subsequently moved out but Mother, Father and
I. And my mother died.
When I lost my arm in a water-skiing accident they fit me
with an artificial arm to help me be normal. Despite the
disgrace I believed that life would now be safer for me.
Former insecurities and sadness could now be linked to
this easily recognized infirmity.
My cousin Daniel was a close and loving friend who taught
me to respect my thoughts. I'm not sure why he cared to
speak with me. Perhaps the violence I had experienced
made me privy to certain insights that came from
suffering. I don't know why he had no one to talk to
when he decided to end his life.
One day at law school, I asked too many questions of the
lecturer. With a smile on his face the speaker said that if
I asked one more question he would cut off my other arm.
I turned scarlet. But I was equally confused by a fellow
student who told me that he almost went up to hit the
lecturer. Clearly I could not even defend myself. Having
one arm would not be an excuse for the inability to fight.
50 long as you were quiet then others would not bother
you. Assert yourself and they would show you that you
were no different.
I discovered some loving people on a kibbutz. Kindred
souls. "What is that?" 5hulamit asked. "An artificial arm",
I explained. "That's disgusting" she said, inadvertently
giving me the courage to remove it forever.
Dina, my kibbutz mother, explained to me that the value
of an aged person's life was the same as that of a child.
"A life is a life". At the outbreak of the war I met her at
the kibbutz gate. I was on my way to photograph in
Lebanon and was anxious that she might question my
actions. After all, I did have two young children. But all
her words were meant to encourage me along the way.
Tel Aviv. August, 1999