in the garden
February 22, 2024 — By elsa

catastrophe: part 3

…previously in this series Catastrophe: Part 2, history and the press Catastrophe: Part 3 October 139th (February 22, 2024) I can’t be cured of my heart. -Albert Camus   Let downs.  The hardest and most shocking betrayal of October 7th has been the silent betrayal by the women of the world. #Metoo …where the f*ck are you?! […]

…previously in this series Catastrophe: Part 2, history and the press

Catastrophe: Part 3 October 139th (February 22, 2024)

I can’t be cured of my heart. -Albert Camus  

Let downs. 

The hardest and most shocking betrayal of October 7th has been the silent betrayal by the women of the world. #Metoo …where the f*ck are you?! The disjoint for Israeli and Jewish women is profound, farcical, and life threatening.

If you have managed to escape the horror of abuse, in all its particulars (be they physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual) then blessings on you, you are privileged beyond knowing. You are an endangered species. You will not however get extra credit for having marched to #FreePalestine. It’s been said the only thing Islamic fundamentalists hate more than Jews, is free women. You may want to order your burqas now.


On January 29th (115 days after Oct 7th), the United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, accepted the invitation that had to be extended to her, and finally arrived in Israel. Only when I am here do I understand the magnitude of the pain, the insult, and the anger of Israel regarding how the world did not sufficiently understand and treat the atrocities that happened to you. -Pramila Patten

She toured the killing fields in the south, met with members of the Israeli health and social affairs ministries, with doctors and psychiatrists, with survivors, with President Herzog and his wife Michal. At the Foreign Ministry, she saw the ’47-minute’ video (a compilation of raw footage primarily captured on body cameras worn by Hamas militants on October 7th). It contains scenes of extreme violence recorded during and after the incursion. Apparently, she is finding it difficult to sleep. 

Only after I saw the video did I understand things that I didn’t understand before in terms of the magnitude of the disaster that happened. I saw things here that I have not seen anywhere in the world. -Pramila Patten

So brutal was Oct 7th that it’s possible you are/were too triggered to actually look at it, let alone believe it. It was easier to drag out the DEI template and see which party best fit the role of oppressor. You decided it had to be Israel. You simply ignored the evidence and identified with the actual abuser. Maybe everyone has Stockholm syndrome, which is a way of explaining symptoms people exhibit after traumatic situations like abductions and abusive relationships. When you ignore your own trauma response you become the abuser. Or maybe it is just anti-semitism.

Halachic authorities are currently debating the status of the unborn, since pregnancies among the female hostages raped by Hamas are seemingly inevitable. Those we are missing. Gd willing they will all be returned alive, though we already know this isn’t the case with at least 30 of the hostages.

More than any observance, protect your heart, for it is the source of life. -Proverbs 4:23

I highly recommend the essay After Rape: a Guide to the Tormented  by Celeste Marcus (even though it’s behind a paywall). “A relationship with reality in which evil is something far away is no longer possible… it is grotesque to think that the protection of his good fortune is my responsibility… Everyone who is closest to you …will feel helpless because they will know that there is absolutely nothing they can do to help you heal. Love hates to be useless… You must bear witness for yourself… dignity is a precious resource and in extremis it must be preserved. It is undignified to beg someone to recognize your humanity… Protect yourself from swimming in your own bitterness. You are safer now than you were before: you understand the threat accurately.”


Petition to the UN Secretary-General to End the Silence and speak against rape as a weapon of war!


On Universities. Context. Both my father and grandfather were university professors. I was raised riding my bike around elegant campus quads. Studying in the underground library when I got to high school. Trusting the culture. And revering the institution and others like it.

I’m not surprised that Hamas is hiding in a school. I’m just surprised that school is Harvard. -Elon Altman


To the Office of Alumni & Family Relations,

I contribute yearly to the College. I do this to honor the memory of a classmate who was abducted from campus our freshman year, held hostage, raped, shot, and froze to death before she was found many days later in the mountains. Obviously a formative experience.

I want to continue to make that contribution, but it has come to my attention that there is a chapter of the ’student’ organization Student Justice for Palestine (SJP) on campus. ‘SJP Unmasked’* shows the real nature of their activities and intentions. SJP has traceable financial ties to Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement)** an organization the US State Department and the Director of National Intelligence both designate as a terrorist entity. This is the same entity who carried out the vicious Oct 7th attack on Israel, an attack that bears a remarkable similarity in it’s details to what my friend, endured and all who knew and loved her continue to carry with us. This is not personal to me alone.

The unsigned form letter from your office, reveals things are actually worse than I imagined. I have since learned that ADL has been on campus and that that event required extra security that fortunately Campus Safety was able to provide. It is absurd that this level of intervention is required to protect students from other students. Perhaps admissions policies need to be re-examined.

Why is the College community continuing to harbor SJP? What kind of catastrophe is it going to take?

Thank you for your attention,

Elsa Wolman Katana

Class of 1975

*’SJP Unmasked’

**Jonathan Schanzer before the House Ways and Means Committee, on Campus Free Speech.


…an ongoing list of articles, sources, maps, and other links

…next up on allies and Gd