1991, Petah-Tikva, Israel
To the person shooting missiles at my country,
You don’t know me, but my name is Naomi Abraham. I don’t know who you are, how old you
are, what you look like, or what your favorite color is. I don’t know why you want to kill me. But
just so you know, I’m fourteen years old. I have long, curly black hair that hangs past my waist.
My favorite color used to be dark blue, the color of the sky just before night falls.
It isn’t my favorite color anymore. Because now when it gets dark, I am afraid I’ll hear the
sirens warning of another incoming missile. The Gulf War and Saddam’s order to shoot missiles
at us has changed things.
Do you think about the people who’ve died so far? Only a few have been killed outright by the
missiles. But many others suffocated in the same gas masks that are supposed to protect us.
Others—including my grandmother—died of heart-attacks. Air-raid sirens and exploding
rockets tend to scare the living daylights out of older people—literally.
Do you consider that every time you aim a missile? Do you know that each missile terrifies
the children? Do you know how terrified I am that your country will attach a chemical or
biological bomb to the tips of the missiles? Do you stop to imagine what it must be like pulling
on gasmasks, racing to the store to buy masking tape, then struggling to cover every single crack
in the house?
I know all the things your leader says about us…he hates Jewish people. He calls us pigs,
infidels, land-stealers. But I was born here, the same as my Palestinian best friend, Amal. Neither
of us can help being born here. And neither of us can help it if our ancestors came here in the
The 1940s or in the 1700s. Since when should heritage be a death warrant?
Do you think about Amal and the Palestinians you are endangering by missiles? They are
Arabs, the same people you claim to be fighting for, yet they have to hide in basements, too.
Are you being forced to fire these missiles? Or do you believe the propaganda about Israelis,
and Jews, and anyone different from you?
I’d like to think that if you met me and we got to know each other that you would see I am not
just an Israeli. Or Jewish. I am a person, same as you. My parents, my friends—Israeli and
Palestinian—are all individuals. I want to believe that if you knew them, knew my Dad liked
football, knew my Mom taught Arabic to Israeli kids, knew my Muslim and Jewish friends get
together to shop after school, that you would disobey Saddam’s orders to shoot at us. That we
might even bond or be friends if things were different.
I want to believe I am more than just a target to you. But between the falling missiles, we
stock up on supplies. We check the news constantly. My father makes us practice putting on
gas masks again and again. Between the falling missiles, my little sister’s whimper every time
they hear a loud noise. My mother won’t let me travel too far from the house in case the siren
goes off. Between the falling missiles is nothing but cold dread in the pit of my stomach.
And I know that you must not think of me as a person. If you did, you wouldn’t cheer when a
missile lands. You wouldn’t be happy about forcing other human beings to live like this. You
would feel something for me. But you don’t.
Maybe I shouldn’t look at you as a human, either. But the crazy thing is…I still do.
Sarah M. Prindle received an Associate’s Degree in English from Northampton Community College. She loves reading everything from historical fiction and memoirs to poetry and mysteries. She hopes to someday publish her own novels and poetry collections on these different topics.