In between war and peace, there is a space where words like ceasefire float around as though they mean something more than pause.

For me, a ceasefire is like a Stage IV cancer diagnosis. You know it’s something you’re going to have to deal with. You just don’t know how long you have to brace yourself for whatever this ultimately means.

I remember the pit in my stomach that formed when we knew my sister was full of colon cancer. For 22 months, it sat and grew thorns that jabbed at me incessantly. When she died, the mass inside me emptied so fast that I was left with a gaping hole I didn’t know how to live with. It took me a long time to replace it with things that brought me pleasure and comfort.

I’ve been here through intifadas and wars. I’ve seen the cycle enough to know what it means to be given a ceasefire. And the pit is growing again. This time, I feel the entire country twisting around with me in discomfort. I don’t know the answer. I wonder if there even is one. But I know that we cannot go on much longer like this.

This is what Ceasefire means to me.

* * *

I have been here before.

So many times before.

Words depicting bloodshed and war shot from the only weapon I’ve ever held comfortably in my hands exploded in empty fields of papers no one will ever read.

I wrote of pain and suffering and heartache and confusion and the humanity inside me that is ripped apart by my need for safety and my need for peace.

I am flesh and bone, so I duck and cover, but I am heart and soul, so I rise and resist.

I don’t understand any of it.

I don’t know why I am chained to my history and my people any more than I understand why I am sympathetic to mothers on the other side of the wall I hate but hide behind as I teach my children tolerance and love and how to communicate effectively to end conflict.

This region at the center of turmoil and battles in the name of gods who don’t have the decency to show up and put a stop to this endless loop of hatred and fear eats me alive and sustains me at once.

Sinatra croons in my head as I watch my country flirt with war.

“Bang bang, she shot me down

Bang bang, I hit the ground

Bang bang, that awful sound

Bang bang, my baby shot me down”

Bang bang.


Bury the dead. Bandage the wounds. Build another wall and burn another bridge.


Regroup, reload, relaunch.


Cease to what? Hate? Exist? Believe?

This land has hooked me, reined me in and entangled me in her torment. I cannot pry myself away from her now.


Simmering in the quiet air, raging deep beneath broken trust, our fire holds still another day.


Hanging for a moment in time, it is too heavy to remain suspended between hope and reality and will come crashing to the broken ground.

And I…

I am here, planted in a land that was buried alive in a shallow grave. She is slowly decomposing, her stench cannot be masked. I can’t describe how her wretchedness roils my insides yet fills me with a yearning hunger never satiated. This is not prose – it can’t be written from imaginative thoughts. It is a vivid description of the land I feel beneath my feet. It is more real than I will ever be.

This land cannot cease to fire; it is the only way she knows how to breathe.

Originally published on The Times of Israel

When Conflict Strikes Its Weary Head

So this guy walks up to another guy at a bus stop.

Guy at the bus stop is on his way to a rehearsal for some sort of theater group…he’s creative and fun that way.

And this guy likes to let loose because he lives in the heart of a conflict and it’s good to live life fully when you never know what the guy who walks up to you at a bus stop might do.

Well, anyway, this guy walks up to this guy at a bus stop.

He’s only been a free man for a bit.  He should be living his life and maybe joining a theater group because he also lives in the heart of a conflict and it’s good to live life fully when you just never know what’s next.

But this guy has a problem because he believes in a code that tells him that if his relative is accused of something it’s up to him to prove the family still has honor.

So he walks up to this guy at a bus stop.

And he stabs him enough times in the abdomen to make sure he will die.

Then he steals his gun, which the guy who is dying at his feet has in order to live his life fully in that tiny place at the heart of a conflict with a bit less fear, and shoots at a bunch of young soldiers, gets himself moderately wounded and arrested.

So the guy is going to live for a little while in a prison where he’ll get an education, food and political promotion and most likely will be traded for something intangible like a good will gesture and his family will have their bloody honor back and all will end well for a guy who stabbed another guy at a bus stop where he was waiting to be picked up for rehearsals.

Evyatar Borovsky was laid to rest along with his full life and dreams of theater while his wife and five children wept and my land twisted and turned and a fire raged on and on in the heart of all this conflict and no one in the entire world said a word about the man who just wanted to live.

So I’m telling you the story about the guy who dared to walk up to another guy who’s name was Evyatar and who had a wife and five children and family and friends who loved him and a life that was full and vibrant and loving and who had to die at the feet of a guy who didn’t give two shits about the life of the man he stabbed at a bus stop in a little place that’s the heart of a conflict that killed a man for daring to live.

Evyatar Borovsky