The Palestinian Israeli conflict.
First. A short video
If there is one thing that strikes me about this conflict more than anything else, it is the foundations upon which this conflict are built.
I have a daughter who just turned two. I know I have some time before I will have to answer any questions of hers about war and killing and why humans do it. I think I will probably ruminate for some time to come about my response because the questions she will ask I have been asking myself most of my life.
I always wanted to believe that we lived in enlightened times, but there is one question I don’t think we as parents can ever reconcile. How can we teach our children not to steal property or hurt others when North America, the continent I live in, was founded on the precepts of theft and murder?
When the colonists showed up in North America they simply annexed what they wanted. It was not an action that was to be questioned, the powers that be cited “manifest destiny” under the terms of their religion as the justification and proceeded with a program of relocation and genocide as a solution. Of course, those who led the charge did not see themselves as anything other than “righteous ” and proceeded, guilt free, until there was almost nothing left of the people or the culture they chose to annihilate. After the job was done, government proceeded to tell us that killing and theft were bad and established “laws” to deter further incursions.
We try to teach our children to be good. We tell them that lying, stealing, fighting and being pushy are bad things. Some of us try to change the world through our off spring, but as I look at how the works operates around me I begin to ask myself, “am I training my child to be a lamb, ready to be led to slaughter?”
It would seem that goodness has no real effect on stopping monsters and mobsters from controlling everything around us. While those who pursue peace do what they can through non violent means, the sharks and wolves of our society simply snigger and then let loose another volley of missiles so that they can destroy something that belongs to someone else and then make a fortune rebuilding it according to their own vision.
Property ownership has been, from the outset, a loaded gun. The idea that we want our children to grow up respecting property rights while simultaneously being honest and caring seems a bit hypocritical. Maybe, in the pursuit of truth and honesty, we should start teaching about the inequality that has become central to how our society operates and show our children how to protect themselves from potentially dangerous situations and people. Tell them the the truth about how, when you want something, the example should be taken from the historical origins of America, or, more currently, Israel and Palestine.
And, before I go any further, I would like to point out that I am on neither side of this fight. In my opinion, both parties to this conflict think that killing children is okay. In my book, the whole region should just magically disappear so that those who love peace and understanding can just get on with the business of loving and living.
It is hard for me to be critical of Israel because some of my family, which has Jewish roots, was exterminated in Hitler’s Germany. Yet I find myself repulsed by what the Israelis have become and what they do in the name of protecting their religion. I don’t care what the origin of the attitude was, but if that attitude leads to the killing of children, then I have a hard time rallying behind the cause. The killing of children is something a monster does and nullifies any credibility. I may have listened to you once, but now I cannot. You killed children. I cannot forgive you for that. Ever.
I don’t expect the Palestinian Israeli conflict to end in my lifetime. It has been there since before I was born, and, sadly, after generations, it is all they know. The region has become a multigenerational breeding ground of hate and stupidity born of a misplaced belief in a spirituality that seems to mean nothing and does nothing to make the world a better place. They should be ashamed of themselves. They have cheapened their religion.
The Middle East wouldn’t be the Middle East if Palestine and Israel weren’t duking it out all the time. But as a parent, I have to call a spade a spade and point out that The Jews (remember that I have Jewish roots) arrived in Palestine after the United Nations decided they could move in with the Palestinians. I don’t recall if the Palestinians were asked what they thought, but regardless of that, one would think that, if Jewish mothers and fathers were trying to be good families and raise good children, they would have taught them how to be better neighbours to their hosts. One cannot forget that Palestine was made a country back in 1917 at the urging of the British.
Instead, we are reminded that this is how the world operates. If you want something, be nice at first, lie a little bit about your good intentions and then, later, just take it and be ready to fight. And if given the chance to fight, make it a bloody one. It doesn’t matter if you kill children or obliterate anything that was there before, there are countless historical examples from which justification can be drawn, the most recent being in Israel.
I think it a strange paradox that a people who have historically been oppressed eventually evolved to be oppressors. Being that they are people of faith I will never figure out how they could not become the world’s shining example of forgiveness and hope. I also can’t work out how they can practice their religion every day while children are killed and maimed in the name of their god. I know that there are Jews in Israel who just as horrified as I by what their countrymen are doing, but it always seems to be the animals that get their way.
It would have been so great if Israel could have coexisted with their new neighbours, but, instead, we have a confirmation that things can never change and that theft, murder and oppression are what creates successful communities. Why shouldn’t the Jews jump on the band wagon.
If the Palestinians and the Israelis can’t sort themselves out before my daughter asks me ‘that question’, i’m going to have to enroll her in some kung fu classes so that she can protect herself from the monsters that may one day come to take her home.
That is if she can ever afford one.