Michael Wolraich's picture

    I Am Israel, Hear Me Kvetch!

    Call me Israel. I am not a large man; I survive by wit and grit. I am a good man, and I fear no one.

    Do not judge me. My childhood was a nightmare grimmer than you, who grew up in comfort and security, could ever imagine.

    I escaped to the land of my ancestors. It was hot and dry and barren--but it was my birthright, my promised land. The men of that district were strangers to me--sullen, bitter, and resentful. When I arrived, they tried to kill me. They were large and strong but stupid and gutless. I cut them bloody until they fled howling. They now know the taste of my lean fury and do not challenge me.

    But two of them, weaker yet more stubborn and stupid than the rest, will not leave me be. The brothers Palestine. They say that I have taken their home, the little liars. Oh, how they have tested me over the years with their taunts and rocks and tiny fists. At first, I generously offered to share my house, but the idiots would only curse and threaten me, so I beat them and locked them away.

    The larger brother is docile now. I have given him a room with a window and a toilet. The ingrate complains that it's too small and that he cannot move about the room, but I ignore him.

    The smaller brother is wild. I shut him in a closet. He pounds on the door and spits at me through the cracks. But I am not cruel; I slide a plate of gruel beneath the door each day. It is his fault that he is locked in a closet.

    And yet, you sit there in your fancy house, and you condemn me. You condemn me out of ignorance because you don't understand that men such as these will not behave until their spirits have been crushed. You condemn me out of naivety because you believe in the illusion of "justice." You condemn me out of bigotry because you hate me and have always hated me.

    I do not care what you think. I will not defend my actions to you. I have done what I had to do. I am not a large man; I survive by wit and grit. I am a good man, and I fear no one.


    Not a large man, but I carry a rather big stick. Making the speaking-softly part entirely optional. I fear no man, but don't even think of picking up your own stick. Firewood, my ass.

    Can I call you Misrael? You know, because of the constant kvetching and all.

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