Tuesday morning we mourned. The streets were quiet, and people walked with their heads down, their eyes also down, words stumbling out of their mouths as if nothing they said really mattered. The border protests had been meant to be peaceful, not another massacre. Maybe the warmongers are right, after all: Maybe the enemy is just the enemy.
The funeral processions were quiet, too. Young men carried the coffins high on their shoulders. There was anger in their eyes. Here was their friend, their cousin, their brother.
Around 3 p.m., after the funerals were over, I got in a car with the same friends as on Monday and we headed for the border again. The crowd was much smaller, less than half what it had been the day before. But otherwise the scene was similar. A few teenage boys rolled out tires toward the border and set them on fire. Dark clouds of smoke plumed up into the sky. Children flew kites decorated with the Palestinian flag. In the distance, drones took off and fanned out.
In perfect formation the drones started dropping their canisters. Again we scattered to avoid the gas clouds. A few minutes later we regrouped in the main field, opposite the Israelis’ main watch tower. A boy who had been collecting empty black canisters was stringing them together into a great necklace. He began to swing it above his head joyfully, to the laughter of those around him.
Another round of fire. More running. A drone dropped out of the sky, spiraling downward ungracefully, like a bird that has been shot. Children ran to the spot where it hit the ground: Yes, Israelis also lose things. One boy touched it carefully, afraid that it might be hot or would explode. When the children realized it was safe to touch, they all wanted to pick it up and play with it. I saw their smiles, heard their excitement. Then a stack of speakers nearby started blasting nationalist songs from the 1970s, drowning out the kids’ voices.
It was getting dark, and we headed home. As I drove back with my friends, I misquoted T. S. Eliot in my head: “May is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land.”