‘Means of Suppressing Demonstrations’ by Shani Boianjiu


From The New Yorker:


Lea, the officer, had stopped feeling her own body. She lay on top of an anti-sniper barricade, holding up a page from a newspaper, blocking the stars. She had to stretch out her arms to hold the wide page above her head.

“Oh,” she said.

“The Army didn’t do it,” Tomer said. He flicked his cigarette butt down onto the asphalt of Route 799. He was talking about Huda, the little Palestinian girl on the beach. The picture in the newspaper showed her screaming on red sand, amid the body parts of the seven people who had been her family.

“I know,” she said. “This is a manipulation.”

The world said that the Israeli Army had done it with artillery fire, but the Israeli Army knew that the family had been killed by a dormant shell that Palestinian militants had left by the sea. Lea looked at Tomer. The orange light of the road lamps lit him from behind, so that he could have been a demon. He was nineteen, two years younger than the officer.

“It’s just that I can’t feel my body all of a sudden,” she said.


Lea often told him that she couldn’t feel her body. That she could move it, but not feel it. That those were two separate things. He never questioned her; he pushed her. This was what she wanted.

Tomer took his weapon off his back and pressed her shoulders into the concrete. When their pants were pulled down, he pressed his hands on her neck, then her arms. He called her Lea during the day, because it was her name, and because she said he could. At night, when he pulled her hair so hard that her scalp buzzed, he called her Officer, because it was what she said he should call her then. When she looked to the side, she could see the warm glow that came from the homes of people in nearby villages.

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