MOURN WITH US
“Every dead child is a loss for all.” This past Thursday, hundreds of people dressed in black gathered in a silent, solemn processional through midtown New York City, to mourn the thousands of children killed during the October 7th Hamas terrorist attack on Israel and the Israeli bombardment of Gaza that has followed. The procession was more like a funeral than a political rally. People marched silently in twos to a mournful drumbeat, holding up signs with photographs of Palestinian and Israeli children who have died since early October, and carrying effigies of deceased babies wrapped in white cloth. Led by the Jewish Elders for Palestine and JVPNY, the group wound its way up 6th Avenue from Bryant Park to Times Square, and then down a few blocks to a plaza where the mourners, some in tears, laid the effigies of the babies down in front of a banner that read, “Ceasefire Now.”
Below are the drawings I made of the procession. The events of the last few months have been so terrible – a brutal attack by Hamas on Israel, followed by the unceasing bombing of Gaza by Netanyahu’s government, with thousands killed and a subsequent humanitarian crisis. I don’t pretend to have any answers to this horrible situation. All I know as we enter 2024 is that too many children are dying. It feels futile, but still, I hold hope for peace in the New Year.
Interviewed by someone from NBC news, one of the women holding the banner asks, “Is taking lives in retribution the only calculation?”
Escorted by police, the mourners make their way up 6th Avenue, holding up photographs of smiling children, each with the caption, We Mourn, and their names in English, Hebrew, and Arabic.
The group made their way through the theater district as holiday tourists looked on, adding their plea for the children to the hundreds of messages blaring down at us in Times Square.
Some people kissed the small bundles before laying them down, others were in tears. One of the effigies had a baby doll inside, and seeing the small face hit me right in the heart.
A Jewish Elders representative said they had made 500 effigies for this procession, but that was a small amount in comparison to the number of actual deaths.
There were people of many backgrounds in the procession, including Jewish and Palestinian people, mourning the children together. An irate woman came by to yell at the group, but received no argument.
The message of the group was clear: The children are suffering.