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Harriet Berkal

 
Harriet Berkal: SCAR TISSUE -Will We Ever Heal as Humans ?

by Harriet Berkal May 30, 2021

It was Sunday morning, and as of late, with my commitment to improved health, I found myself, back on the treadmill, watching CNN.

 
They were covering the crisis in the Middle East. It’s disturbing to watch, as it’s a déjà vu of what we have seen before. This is not a new crisis, as it has continued on throughout the decades. It’s a never ending rift between the Israelis and Palestinians in a war over land.
 
As a Jew, I understand that our homeland if attacked, has the right to defend itself. But I wonder if there is ever any end to this struggle in sight ?
 
It occurs to me odd, that even within certain communities, it’s not a given, that everyone tolerates one another. There are Jews who dislike other Jews, Asians who don’t tolerate each other and Blacks who view their own with great distain. Yet, when an atrocity is committed towards anyone in that particular group, it unifies them with the glue of defiance, as one of their own is being attacked.
 
The George Floyd case certainly has enlightened us to systemic racism and injustice running through America. It has gathered droves of Blacks ( and of course others ) to run to the streets and rally for justice.
 
Recent Asian hate crimes in the light of day, plus the notable rise in antisemitism are deeply concerning. Add in a pandemic and economic uncertainty and you have complete mayhem.
 
Covid is leaving it’s war wounds globally. The struggle continues between the anti maskers and vaccinators and those who understand the privilege to receive a vaccine. Look at the battlefield here.
Covid doesn’t discriminate at all. It is blind to race, religion or sex.
 
I watch what is going on in India with total disbelief of the apocalyptic affects it’s had on their country. When will Covid be over ?
 
Recently, I tuned into Oprah’s new series she has collaborated on with Prince Harry: “ The Me You Can’t See”. It is about how many of us are suffering with depression and pain from trauma in life.
 
PSTD will be the household word in 2021, if it is not already. How can you go through an epidemic and not be utterly affected for life ?
 
We all experience life altering events be it from childhood, teenage tribulations of young adolescence, finding our way by choosing a path, navigating romantic relationships, raising our own children and reversing roles with aging parents.
 
What have we learned ?
 
Doctors make incisions everyday to save lives. Those lucky enough to survive develop scar tissue in the healing process.
 
So the wound can be both physical and emotional for humans. How do we move forward?
 
If I’ve learned anything this past difficult year, is that, it is of utmost importance to validate another’s pain, to hear their feelings and hear their stories. If that one thing doesn’t happen, that individual will never be whole again.
 
Prince Harry is still dealing with the horrors of losing his mother at age 13. Lady Gaga conveyed that she struggles with her history of rape. And even Oprah carries her own baggage from her upbringing of both physical and mental abuse. A teacher is granted as being a main person whom she found solace with.
 
This year, there was an article in a local community magazine featuring my driftwood moose on my front lawn called “Louis”. It’s in honour of my beloved father the late Rabbi and Cantor Louis Berkal.
 
Months after its publication, I received a HATE letter. It attempted in the cruelest way to hurt me by insulting my artistic ability, cheap shots at my appearance and eccentricity and ending off by saying it will be a fine day when I along with my dysfunctional family move out of Tuxedo.
 
Was that traumatic? Indeed it was. But here’s what’s worse. I now know who wrote this filth. It is from another Jew, no less. It was written by a person so insecure and unhappy that they needed to cut me down in size in order to feel better about themselves. But a coward nonetheless. It was unsigned.
 
So do we scar each other all the time even within our own tribes? We do.
 
If a global pandemic can’t bring us together as human beings devoid of hatred, then I see no hope for the future.
 
You cannot heal these wounds until ownership is taken, and we attempt to understand and validate the pain which others are feeling. Otherwise, it never goes away, and the suffering continues ad nauseam.
 
Sharpen your scalpels and let us all come out at the other end of this pandemic pandemonium, as better civilized and caring human beings.
 
We all bleed!
 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

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