I have gone back and forth in my head over whether I wanted to write this post. Not because I think I’m wrong or that what I have to say shouldn’t be said but because I know that the tension in the world right now could cause me to be accused of racism, bigotry or any number of other untrue epithets. I am well aware that I have a huge amount of ignorance when it comes to the lived experiences of those who are not white, cis, straight and atheist. I appreciate that many will disagree with what I write here but while I acknowledge my ignorance of life experiences, I do listen, I do try to learn and I express my views with considered phrasing and from a place of love.
The issue which I am addressing today is that of Israel and Palestine. One could argue that I have no right to an opinion on the situation. I am not Jewish, nor am I Muslim but I am human. As are all Jewish people and Muslims. At the heart of this conflict, at the heart of the atrocious actions on both sides are a bunch of humans that were just born into it. Most of those living amongst the violence do not part take in it. Most are just trying to survive, to thrive, to raise families with children who will go onto greatness. Just like the rest of us. However their leaders and their governments refuse to back down. They refuse to compromise and they refuse to allow the value of human life to be greater than their own hatred and greed.
The wider world, outside of the conflict zone have a part to play too. We have armed them, we have excused them and we have turned a blind eye too many times. Jeremy Corbyn expressed compassion for Palestinians and was labelled antisemitic. He didn’t express a hatred of Jewish people, he just acknowledged the pain of human lives lost at the hands of the Israeli government.
We have this thorn in our thinking these days. We hear someone condemn one person and we attribute that comment to mean that they feel that way about all similar people. For example, I might condemn Bill Cosby and his horrific acts. Some might claim that my inability to look past it and continue to enjoy the Cosby show as racist. It’s not racist. I would feel the same, and act similarly no matter what his race. In fact in the wake of the ‘Metoo’ movement I have stopped watching many TV shows and films because I find it hard to separate the man from the character. Kevin Spacey being one of those people who I just cannot watch anymore. This is the same thinking that sparks the likes of #notallmen. No one said it was all men.
When we speak out about the atrocities of war we need to do so in a balanced and fair way, making sure to acknowledge the faults of both sides. However we should be able to say how awful it is without fear of accusations of bigotry.
The war in Israel and Palestine is horrendous. It seems to have no end as each generation is educated in the fear and hate of previous one. How can we change the thinking and end the violence when children are indoctrinated?
No matter what your view, no matter whether you believe that Israel is in the right or wrong you must, I believe we all must know that it is not worth losing innocent lives. There must be another way. There must be a solution that doesn’t involve the complete and utter destruction of a people.
It is NEVER ok to sacrifice people for a cause. We might understand it, might be able to rationalise it but ask anyone who has actually fought on the front lines, ask their families and you’ll know that it is never ok and we must ensure that we never allow it to become ok. If we stop being horrified by it, that’s the day we lose all hope. That’s the day our humanity dies and that’s something we should truly fear.
I am aware that what I have written does not go deep into the history or politics of the Gaza conflict but to be honest with you, I don’t care about it. I care about the humans caught up in it. I care about people. Wars are fought for power, greed and status. That’s all they’re ever fought for and I have no time for it. Leaders and Governments will claim all sorts of things as their motives. Freedom of religion, oppression, threat to their way of life. But it’s always lies based on a small modicum of truth. Monarchs have spent much of history invading countries and using their faith and fear of hell to force people to bend to their will. The media does it now, to encourage xenophobia and bend people towards voting for Brexit and the Conservatives. It’s our job as humans to educate ourselves and engage in honest, open discussions which will hopefully move us all forward.
When it comes to the Israelis and the Palestinians all I can see is that people are dying, children are dying and it needs to stop. That’s all that matters. I don’t understand why it’s continually made more complicated. Imagine it was your family, imagine it was your child. Just imagine it. Is anything worth risking the lives of those you love?