‘Rage Less Traveled’ author's journey from terror to triumph

Wilson agreed to talk with 'The Post' about her book and her life from her home in Jerusalem.

Kay Wilson (photo credit: Courtesy)
Kay Wilson
(photo credit: Courtesy)
On December 18, 2010, two Palestinian-Arab men nearly beat the life out of Kay Wilson. As she lay feigning death, Wilson was witness to the murder of her friend Kristine Luken.
Out for a hike on the Israel Trail, the women’s only crime was being Jewish – except Luken was not Jewish. Wilson is a British-born Israeli tour guide, jazz musician and cartoonist.
Wilson is the author of a new book, The Rage Less Traveled, which came out this week as she traveled from Israel to Washington for the AIPAC policy conference. Wilson is part of a One Family Fund delegation. She told her story Monday on the AIPAC stage, including a piano rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” which she told The Jerusalem Post was “written by two Jews just before the Holocaust. It speaks of the hope and the yearning to be at home in a hostile world.”
She told the Post how on the day of her attack, as she stumbled from the site of her intended grave, she played “Somewhere over the Rainbow” in her head as she made her way down the thorny hills, barefoot and bleeding, gagged and with bound hands, to safety in the National Park picnic spot.
If she was not going to just roll over and die in the Jerusalem hills, she certainly was not going to let broken bones, a punctured lung and emotional trauma ruin the rest of her life, she said.
Wilson described a theme that today characterizes her life now: “Even emerging from that dark place, you can find the resources to tap into the goodness of life.”
The Rage Less Traveled tells the story of the attack and shares with readers its impact on her, how she coped with the immediate police investigation, later meeting her murdered friend’s parents and then facing her assailants in court.
Wilson agreed to talk with the Post about her book and her life from her home in Jerusalem:
JP: Why did you write this book?
Wilson: It started out as part of my trauma therapy. As part of the healing process, I was to write what had happened to me. The first draft was very detailed, but like an account you give the police, a chronology of what happened. It took months to put myself as a feeling person into the story and to tell it as I experienced it.
Those I showed it to were overwhelmed with my writing and suggested I write a book. As a Jew, I felt it imperative that I bear witness. Writing is one way that I could show the world how a Christian woman was murdered because she was thought to be Jewish, and to keep her memory alive. I wanted people outside of Israel – Jews and non-Jews – to understand the ongoing pogrom against us.
People are inquisitive. They want to know what it is like to go through something like what happened to me. It was never intended to be a self-help book, because there are no answers to what happened to me. Yet, by being vulnerable and depicting my journey as honestly as I can, I hope that people will see the aspects that are helping me heal.
But the book evolved…
Then, I thought I could show others the Israel most never see, the society within which my recovery was made possible from the start: a woman in a taxi, a police officer, people who did not know what to say to me, who were well meaning but awkward, walking on eggshells – what do you say to someone who was almost hacked to death? And at the same time, they demonstrated unvarnished kindness. They all played a part in my ongoing recovery and still do. I wanted people to see the humanity in the diversity we have here in Israel.
Then an even bigger raison d’être for the book arose. I wanted governments around the world to stop funding these terrorists, to cut off the flow of cash that allows the Palestinian Authority to pay salaries to terrorists and their families. Writing the book became part of a strategy of giving talks, working with Palestinian Media Watch, the Dutch Parliament and more, all for the purpose of stopping the pay-to-slay phenomenon.
Even though I am also a British citizen, the British will not touch me. I wrote to every Member of Parliament and only four responded, tepidly. Most recently, the BBC refused to interview me for a program they were preparing on the topic of pay-for-slay.
What is the meaning of the title of your book, The Rage Less Traveled?
After the terrorist attack at the Bataclan in Paris, I was astounded by the way the public reacted by putting flowers down at the spot of the crime. Somehow, we have reached the absurd situation where the worst thing you can do in today’s politically correct world is to express anger. But a wrong was done to me. Rage in such a situation is normal and should be allowed. When we are told to short-circuit rage, society will snap at some point. We need to validate rage.
But isn’t rage dangerous?
The important thing is where you direct your rage.
I own my rage and I limit it and direct it to those who are directly responsible for my attack. I will not let anyone take away my right to my rage and my hate. But by directing it specifically at those who attacked me, I can distinguish between those who deserve my hate and those innocents who do not. Otherwise, it gets blurry.
I will never forgive. My attackers show no remorse. They say they would do it again.
Anyone who follows you on social media knows that you have close relationships with Arabs, both Israeli-Arabs and even some in the PA. How do you distinguish between those who mean you harm and those you can trust?
I do not trust anyone, not even myself. But I am also not going to erase anyone. The Arabs I have contact with reached out to me. And when we first got together, we would meet in safe places. I would never be alone, you have to be wise.
They cried when they found out what had happened to me. They needed someone to talk to. They know Jews are not killers and yet they cannot come out openly in their society and talk about what they are thinking and feeling. Over time, these trustworthy friends made contact with others and the circle grew slowly.
You feel sorry for them?
I don’t feel sorry for these people. Look what happened to me, and nobody expected me to stay in perpetual victimhood. Leftism does that – it keeps the Arabs in perpetual victimhood. I believe in empowering them, equipping them to deal with their culture on their own terms.
How can we empower them?
While talking at length with one of my friends who lives under the Palestinian Authority, we talked about incitement in his culture, incitement that sends kids with knives to kill Jews. He exclaimed that I should see where he lives! Photos of terrorists line the walls of buildings. This led us to conclude that the solution lies in education.
We decided that the perfect solution was to set up an after-school club in a refugee camp with the goal of teaching English as a second language, art, music and how to lose gracefully at sports.
So you started this organization?
Yes, we call it The Yellow Brick Road. The scarecrow had no brains (supposedly) and we want to teach children to think for themselves. The tin man supposedly had no heart: If children grow up with hate and subject to radicalization, learning art and music gets them to connect with their feelings. The lion supposedly had no courage. These children will need courage to stand up to the radicalization forces in their culture.