Los Angeles, CA: John and Mary Stevenson never thought they could fully understand the plight of the Palestinians. They both earned bachelor degrees in the social sciences from prestigious universities, have read avidly about the post-colonial Middle East, and both strongly support the creation of a Palestinian state. But after dealing with one of the most harrowing experiences of their lives, they have a new born sympathy for the displaced Middle Easterners.
It all began with a simple decision to remodel their home.
When the Stevensons began their remodeling project a few months back, they thought it would be a relatively simple process with few hassles.
“We wanted to remodel the home for our new baby girl,” said Mrs. Mary Stevenson, “She always laughs with delight when she sees the new stainless steel GE double oven with matching refrigerator.”
“We thought this would be an easy project,” explained John Stevenson, “Just a minor inconvenience in our daily lives. All we were doing was some basic tile work in the kitchen and bathrooms, replacing appliances, some toilets, and replacing the counter tops.”
But the Stevensons were unaware of just what had to be done to complete their modest construction project. What they thought would be an easy process turned into a powerful imposition on their daily lives.
“Nobody told me that they would have to unplug the refrigerator to place new tile,” exclaimed Mary Stevenson,”All of my homemade yogurt went bad! And who knew it took two days to install new toilets? Can you imagine my embarrassment when I had to go over to the neighbor’s house to ‘take care of business’?”
Indeed, the Stevensons will endure a difficult life for the next few weeks until the construction in their home is completed. At times, they will live without hot water or functioning toilets, without access to a stove or oven and with no refrigerator. The air in their home will be filled with the dust of destruction. Construction workers occupy their track home day and night, telling them when to go to sleep and when to wake up.
“Now we understand how the Palestinians feel,” lamented Mary Stevenson,” We are refugees in our own home. We are living in rubble, our lives run by the construction workers. Our home is not our own. Our lives are not our own.”
John Stevenson, longingly looking out of a shattered window (a loose bit from a power drill had shot through it the day before), provided an eerie depiction of life in the remains of his home. “Sometimes,” he began,” The mixed cries of mothers and their hungry babies fill the air. . . namely because my wife will step on a stray nail on her way to breast-feed the baby.”
The owner of the construction company had little to say about the Stevenson affair.” I don’t understand what their problem is,” said Lance Kittle, owner of Kittle & Fits Construction, “They should be happy they even have a home. Do they know what those poor Palestinian people are going through right now?”