Close your eyes and imagine

Friends and family mourn Daniella Dana Petrenko of Haifa killed in a deadly attack by Hamas terrorists at a festival, which she attended with her boyfriend. Like this family, thousands of Israeli families buried their friends, relatives, boyfriends, parents, children after the jihadist invasion of last October 7 (Reuters) (SHIR TOREM/)

When you finish reading this article, close your eyes. And breathe slowly. Imagine the following sequence of events. One in line with another. Chained. Tied up by a invisible thread of anxiety that disorganizes, to the probable protagonists of this story, the heartbeats and constricts the throats due to an unexpected spasm that paralyzes speech along with reason and the soul. Everything falls apart. It collapses, it fades away.

It is still Friday, October 6, 2023.

Imagine that together with your family you live in a kibbutz. Any. It doesn’t matter. It is a community where all the neighbors know each other. They are close to the border with Loopwell south of Israel. But his concerns today are everyday ones: job, health, studies, friends, security of those closest to him. They are a standard family: marriage with three children, all of very different ages. One, the oldest, is 18. The second, 9. And the youngest is a gift of life of just two months. It’s Friday night. Everyone goes to bed shortly before midnight after dinner. Shabbat. All except one. Two cell phones remain on, for whatever reason. Impatience is the usual when one of the boys is not at home.

The oldest decided to go with friends to a recital. a festival of music trance. He is not very convinced to go, but his closest group persuades him. It’s going to be a real outdoor music party. They will dance, they will meet people, they will have fun. Teenage stuff. Is called Tribe of Nova, “the new tribe.” You breathe freedom. The mega show is right on the border with Loop and it is not the first time that this recital has been held, although it is the first time it has attended.

It’s already Saturday. After sweating too much, when the sun is already rising and the music, the dancing and the legs are languishing, many of the young people present there begin to observe that they are falling from the sky – a few hundred meters away – men on motorized paragliders and hang gliders. What is all that? Also visible, even further away, are the stelae of what appear to be rockets in half of the desert. No. It was definitely not part of the show.

Hell is waking up.

Off-road trucks and motorcycles with heavily armed terrorists, with bulletproof vests and their faces sometimes hooded with green badges, They strike down anyone who crosses their path. Some are taken prisoner briefly and then exterminated. Others were liquidated in the chemical baths that had been placed in a row: a dystopian firing squad. The oldest child of 18 years who had been excited about experiencing an electronic party, suddenly goes through incredible, apocalyptic seconds. He takes his cell phone, shakily, and calls his father, or his mother? Is the same. “They are killing us! I love you! I’m afraid!”. Words and feelings come out in disarray.

Can you imagine it? Can you reconstruct it in your head?

The man, on the other side of the line and still in shock, tries to wake up and separate his recent dreams from this new nightmare when at his side, the love of his life asks him what is happening. And she repeats: “What’s happening? What’s happening?!”. There’s no answer. There is nothing. Just messy thoughts. She tries to settle her mind as she calls her son again, mute. But no one answers on the other side. Her hearts beat faster and the strangulation of her vocal cords begins to mess up the rest of her chest. “They are killing them! They’re killing him!”, he says with arrhythmic breathing.

At that moment alarms are heard. The 9-year-old girl wakes up. Routinely, like every time she hears those sirens, she approaches her parents and asks if they should go to the shelter. They both move quickly, but do not respond. They act. They lift the baby who had begun to wriggle a few minutes ago in his crib next to the double bed.. They put on shoes, put on an improvised coat and decide to go to the protection bunker, while they try to communicate unsuccessfully with their eldest son.

Can you imagine it? You can do it?

Suddenly, an explosion shakes the house. The four of them shudder. It must have been a rocket, they think, still with the echo of the eldest son’s heartbroken cry echoing in their heads: “I’m afraid!”. She still didn’t answer the calls or the WhatsApp.

Cell phones start ringing. Almost in unison. Messages, notifications and calls. But they do not respond when they see that it was not their son. The only thing that mattered to them.

With the baby in their arms and the girl holding hands, they approach the door. But something stops them: they hear screams. Screams. They become increasingly clearer as they approach the exit. They were in Arabic. In Arabic? What’s going on? Suddenly:boom! The entrance to their home collapses with a crash before they could leave. The mother instinctively presses the blanket-covered baby closer to her chest.. The 9-year-old girl finally lets out her contained tears, while her father stands between the terrorists and the rest of the family. He feels that he could be a shield.

They wipe him out with a blow to the head. He remains stunned, bloodied, until he regains, more or less, reason. What was left of her. He does not understand the meaning of the screams that come from the mouths of the invaders. But he knows, in a very brief burst of lucidity, that his eldest son wanted to warn them about this when he called for the last time at his nest. He was sure, too, of one thing: The whole family shared the same fear.

Can you imagine it?

Finally, The terrorists shoot the mother, who in a posthumous reflection drops her baby wrapped in blankets on an armchair. The father jumps on his daughter, but both are massacred, there, in the main room of the house, where the smoke from the jihadists’ automatic weapons thickens the air and prevents us from seeing the photographs of a family that smiled almost always, until that moment. moment. They take the baby, a trophy, set the house on fire and leave. They smile. They celebrate. They are drunk with blood.

They take the newborn away. Two months. Cry. They mock. They shake him to see if this way he stops crying. But he’s hungry, he won’t stop, until he crosses Loop. And nothing else is known about the only survivor of that Israeli family.

Can you imagine it?

All these events were recreated in this article, yes, but they occurred, in one way or another in different homes and families. They happened separated from each other, a few houses from each other, although united by jihadist barbarity. Millions of Israelis suffered just a week ago – directly or indirectly – the hunting of a daughter or friend at the trance party Tribe of Nova, a cemetery of 320 human beings; or the shooting of a mother, a father or a grandmother in a kibbutz. The kidnapping of a daughter, grandson or nephew. Or the beheading of a relative enrolled in the army. Or the cremation of a friend’s newborn.

They are facts and images that will never be erased from memory. They will be tattooed forever for generations. Like those numerical marks that were placed on the Jews in the concentration camps during the Holocaust.

Now, close your eyes. And imagine that, in your home, it happens to you in the early hours of Saturday, wherever you are.

X: @TotiPI