Pat the bunny
Yousuf has picked up a new, nasty habit: he has taken to swatting me ferociously with his hand at every available opportunity, and he seems to enjoy it. I wanted to pinpoint the source of his questionable habit du jur-was life in Gaza finally getting to him, is a therapist already in order (for this, and his vacuum cleaner phobia), or was he mimicking something he saw?
As I mulled over the problem in his play corner, I saw him punch a large, freakish pink bunny with glowing red eyes he received as a gift for his first birthday (why someone would design such a bunny for a child is another story). The bunny, in theory, is supposed to sing a nice song when you move it. Instead, what you get is the indiscernible voice of a child singing in which I have concluded to be a mélange of Chinese and Arabic slang.
“Not like that Yousuf,” I explained calmly, in Arabic. “Gently rub its tummy…pat the bunny...er…like this…*bam bam bam!*” Suffice to say, I think I see where the problem is now. It’s the bunny. That’s right, there is a violent bunny in our midst. A bunny that teaches children to hit it to get what they want. The bunny, in essence, rewards violent behavior. Am I beginning to sound like a certain occupation army?
The moral of the story is that, contrary to popular belief, Palestinians do not teach-nor encourage- their children to be violent. Tanks, armoured bulldozers, Apaches, and occassionally, deranged pink bunnies, do that for us.