For 8 long years the people of Sderot and the Western Negev have endured a torture that contravenes all moral and legal codes in the western world. For 8 long years missiles and mortar shells have rained down on a region that wants nothing more than to live in peace to raise their families and to go about their daily business.
But as with most torture, the psychological element is so much more damaging than the physical element. The fear of not knowing, and the fear of knowing. At any moment the Red Alert sirens might go off. Whatever you are doing has to stop immediately as you run to the nearest rocket-proof shelter. The result? You stop doing. You stop school, you stop work, you stop going out, you stop enjoying. In short, you stop living.
The impact of this 8 years of torture is an incidence rate of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression that is shocking. Children born into the “rocket reality” of life in the region struggle to understand and they struggle to cope. Some 30% of Sderot residents have been diagnosed as suffering from PTSD. 4500 people are registered with the Sderot Health Centre psychiatric department – a department with a staff of just 4!
The Sderot Media Centre (www.sderotmedia.com ), an organization born out of the rocket reality by people from the region, works towards telling the story of the people of Sderot – ensuring that a balanced picture is portrayed by the world. Part of telling that story is helping the people of Sderot to tell their own story. However, many of those suffering from PTSD simply cannot speak of their torture – too traumatized to be able to communicate their own personal hell.
Free Writing is a Form of Self Expression
Communication is a vital part of the rehabilitation of people with PTSD and so the SMC has organized local projects designed to help residents express themselves in a safe and creative manner. One of the projects, a creative writing programme encouraged residents to present their thoughts and feelings in the form of s short story or poetry – this has resulted in many moving and vivid accounts of rocket reality ( visit English: www.sderotmedia.com/bin/content.cgi?ID=189&q=1&s=2 or Hebrew: www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3615501,00.html )
We want to be able to publish these creative written works in various forms that can then be sold in order to raise funds for further ongoing projects – in particular as a book that tells the whole story. We need both money and help in-kind to bring these stories to life, helping people to learn and to understand. We don’t need huge amounts of money – just enough to make them exist in a form that can then be self-financing. Almost more important than money – but not quite – is support with print and design as these are the major up-front costs and also access to distribution channels for sale of the book.
We also need help with publicizing the availability of the book – so we need donated advertising space, press support and access to databases of organizations or people who might be interested in supporting this important project. This letter is a plea to you and your organization to support the people of Sderot.
Remember the telling of these individual stories is the telling of the whole story of the rocket reality of Sderot and the Western Negev.
About the Sderot Media Center
The Sderot Media Center was established in order to voice the periphery residents who are living under the threat of the Qassam missiles, and to fulfill their communicational needs.
Sderot Media Center’s fields of activities:
Journalistic: Documentation of events and distribution via the local and foreign media, production of investigations and articles regarding the situation of Sderot and the Gaza Region.
Communal Projects: Photo gallery, a comprehensive archive, and production of documentary films.
More information visit our website: www.sderotmedia.com
Content, Sderot Media Center