Thursday, July 18, 2024

A silent, black-clad mourning procession of hundreds of people accompanied by drums made its somber way through Boston’s crowded Back Bay shopping district Saturday. Many carried the effigies of children to express their horror at Israel’s war on Gaza, which the World Court on Jan. 26 had ruled “plausibly genocidal.”

Cambridge was well represented in the procession. What follows are reasons given by some Cambridge residents about why they chose to participate.

“Like many people, my reaction to Israel’s slaughter and displacement of the people of Gaza – and to U.S. complicity – extends from rage to the deepest wrenching sorrow,” said Denise Bergman of Elm Street. “For me, the mourning procession’s loud silence amplified solidarity with the people of Gaza and all of Palestine, and honored the 28,000-plus men, women and children whom Israel has murdered. As the procession slowly moved through the streets, many onlookers were visibly moved. It felt like a funeral, and it was. At the closing of the procession, encircling the effigies of children, I felt I was sharing my mourning with people across the globe.”

U.S. responsibility for the slaughter is on the minds of many.

In the words of Kathy Roberts, an early-childhood educator living on Huron Avenue, “As the mother of three adults who grew up in Cambridge and grandmother of four granddaughters, the youngest who is at CRLS, I am outraged that my government with my tax dollars makes us all complicit in the genocide in Gaza. My deep sadness led me to participate in the mourning procession carrying an effigy of a child to portray the stark realities of the atrocities committed by Israel every day even well before Oct. 7.”

“I am so horrified by what is going on in Gaza,” Cambridge resident Chris Affleck said. “We Americans are hugely responsible for it and everything that led up to it – the occupation, the money and weapons we give to Israel, and for failing to support any form of peaceful resistance by the Palestinians. So I feel a personal responsibility to do what I can to get people to care and to put pressure on Biden, because he is not taking my calls.”

Judy Andler of Laurel Street also lamented that “the U.S. is using my tax dollars to pay for this genocidal war.” She added: “People in Gaza are struggling everyday now to stay alive. Almost 2 million are at the point of starvation because Israel continues to withhold food. The shrouded babies carried by the marchers represent for me not just the children who have been slaughtered but the fact that thousands of Palestinian mothers are being forced to give birth in the worst conditions imaginable, without shelter, water, anesthesia, blankets. These are also crimes we can and must stop, wherever we live. I can’t and won’t look away.”

With annihilation now facing the southernmost city of Rafah to which more than a million displaced Palestinians have been driven, and with the United States still refusing to call for a cease-fire, the message transmitted by the mourning procession is more urgent than ever: Cease-fire Now! Let Gaza Live!

Nancy Murray, Erie Street, Cambridge