Years ago, when ‘The Troubles’ as we Irish euphemistically called the bombing, shooting, maiming and intimidation that went on a daily basis here, there was a saying that if you thought you knew what was going on up North, it meant you really hadn’t a clue.
At the moment, I feel the same way about what is going on in Gaza. I have tried to educate myself about the situation and it’s historical roots. I have tried to figure out who is ‘right’. So far, this is what I’ve come up with: There is nothing ‘right’ about killing. There really isn’t. There can be no justification for bombing places of civilian refuge – hospitals, places of worship, schools. Two wrongs never make a ‘right’ and an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind (as Mohandas Ghandi is reputed to have said).
I happen to know and love people from both sides of the current conflict. Many years ago, a Palestinian friend saved my sanity. In more recent times, an Israeli friend has saved my life. Literally. I have listened to both these wonderful men talk about the conflict in the Middle East. They are both fabulous people and I am blessed to know them. But the problem is, when I hear them give their sides of the story (I don’t mean the current conflict, but when they have generously tried to educate me in general about the conflict in Israel and Palestine), I can see both points of view. I can see why my Palestinian friend wants his land back. I can see why my Israeli friend wants his land back. I can see why they both feel that they have a right to land. And I can see why neither of them has any right to be anywhere near it.
What I can see – what I do see – is picture after picture after picture of dead, dying, wounded, grieving, terrified men women and children. I see human beings in pain and I want it to stop. I just want the violence the terror and the trauma to stop.
But this isn’t about me, or how I feel, or what I wish I could do. It’s about human beings inflicting untold suffering on each other while the rest of the world wrings its hands in a practiced gesture of helplessness and forgets, completely, how it said ‘Never again’.