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"Pace is all. Rhythm is master. Consistency is your friend."

Friday, July 14, 2006

Let's All Take a Moment . . .

As I write this the situation in the Middle East continues to deteriorate, people continue to die and arrogant men are issuing statements of "open war" and "war on every level," digging their heels further and further into the ground to show no sign of backing down or cease fire. And I am sad.

I'm sad and I'm scared and I wonder what it's like to be an Israeli citizen or a Lebanese citizen in fear for your life. For your childrens' lives. I wonder what it must be like to corral your children and loved ones into a bomb shelter, to listen to the explosions and smell the smoke from the raging fires. I cannot imagine the grief of having spoken to your spouse at breakfast only to learn later that day that they won't be home for dinner because they were "caught in the crossfire;" that their life and subsequent death is now known as "collateral damage."

No matter how hard we wish it were, this issue, these conflicts are not black and white. Great crimes have been committed by both sides, there is blood on the hands of many and feelings of hatred run deep through the centuries. But what I do know is that modern military weaponry has never been so powerful, so deadly and so accessible. The fire power between these warring factions is tremendous and things continue to escalate. There will be more deaths and more injuries. More people will lose their fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters on both sides of this conflict.

Meanwhile, those in power will continue to posture. They will speak of strength and might - they will all make speeches from their safehouses and bunkers stating to the world why their side is right and why they must continue to fight. But I'm not buying it. There is no right and wrong - only death and destruction for the innocent civilians who once again feel powerless to control whether they live or die.

I'm not a religious person. I don't go to church. I think that religion, in particular, has played a major role in perpetuating this conflict and reinforcing the racist views held by governments who wish to control their people. But I do believe in God and the God I believe in is greatly disappointed in us right now because he didn't create us to kill one another with bombs and missiles.

So take a moment, any moment will do, and say a prayer for the people of the Middle East who are scared, who are terrified that tonight may be their last night and who don't know what tomorrow will bring. And while you're at it, ask whatever God you believe in to give those who have the power to stop this craziness the knowledge and will to do so.

And one more thing, kiss your children, your spouse, your partner - whoever it is that you love - good night tonight and thank God that you're safe inside your home where you will wake up tomorrow morning, have a quiet breakfast, check your email and have the chance to go about your day without worrying about your very survival.

Be safe, everyone.


At 7/14/2006 10:40:00 PM, Blogger cherylann said...

I had the opportunity a couple of years ago to have several discussions with a man who lived in Israel not far from where there is war daily. He worked a regular job, had a wife, and a young daughter. I asked him... "Don't you want to raise your daughter somewhere where she is not in danger of losing her parents or her own life?". His response to me was that if they moved, they would only be teaching his daughter that their roots were not strong enough... that they were cowards to leave the land they had grown up on for generations just because other people believed they were wrong... that it would give the impression that if they moved, that they would give up and that would go against everything they believed in. What kind of life would be lived if it was not a fulfilling life which he only believed could be the way he lived his life everyday. He told me "People die every day. Some sooner than others. We just live each day like today is the last... I love my wife more fully. I embrace the time I share with my daughter." After that, I never questioned him or any other person about why they lived in a certain place that may be filled with a contentious situation. Speaking with him gave me a different view on things. Every time I read something or see something on the news about Israel and their struggles... I think of him and wonder if he was lucky enough to kiss his wife and daughter that day.

At 7/15/2006 09:07:00 AM, Blogger Linus said...

I don't think the answer is asking people to leave their homes. That's not a solution. It would only allow for hatred to continue, just in another place.

And I see what the Israeli man is saying about how his leaving would send the message that the other side is right. But that's part of the problem - this sense of their being two sides and one must be right and the other wrong.

I am no expert on the history of the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians - it's just too complicated for me to wrap my brain around unless I have weeks on end without interruption to read. But I know the waters are very murky and the root of the problem is this "us" and "them" mentality. With the death tolls on both sides rising daily, don't you think it's about time that they see their commonalities and realize that this conflict is harming everyone involved. That there must be another way and that way is through the first realization that we are all human beings and whether we are Jewish, Arab, Christian or Muslim - we are all the same in that we are human. That is the seed that must be planted before anything can be resolved, in the hearts of people on both sides of the walls, and only then will the violence stop.
It's a long shot I know, but I dream of a day when it might happen.

I guess my real point to this post is that the Israeli man that you spoke with shouldn't have to choose between his principles and the lives of his children and wife. No one should. Wherever you choose to make your home, or wherever you are born, you should be able to be safe from systematic violence perpetuated by governments, the military and terrorist organizations.

I am blessed to have been born in the United States because I am safe here. So I don't have to decided between my principles and my children. I can teach them lessons of right and wrong, solidarity and standing up for their convictions in many other ways that don't put them in harm's way. While I understand the Israeli man's viewpoint, I would not put my convictions in direct conflict with my chilrens' safety.

At 7/16/2006 07:08:00 AM, Blogger MuseinMeltdown said...

"I would not put my convictions in direct conflict with my children's safety".

Powerful and thought provoking comment. We take it for granted in this country that this is commonsense, but for many others it is a way of life... what a cruel world - thank you for making me think...


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