Friday, January 23, 2009

Why, Ach Sheli?

I watched an episode of Star Trek – Enterprise yesterday in which the Vulcans, or rather, the ruling Vulcan government, had become illogically warlike, preying even on elements of their own society. The faction in question had determined that the society was flawed, intolerant, evermore warlike, and had strayed irrevocably from the logical peaceful past they had arrived at after nuclear war had almost destroyed them a couple thousand years back.

This show is old, and so I am sure there is no way that the writers thereof could have been thinking about modern Israel, but the similarities struck me as quite poignant.

I have always been sympathetic to the state, even if the inception there of, post WW II, was rather hawkish. Simply put, the things that this people had been put through in history more or less justified the means in my mind.

I have felt that way right up until the last couple of years, and now, I am not so sure. I have Israeli friends, so I believe I have not spoken out about my feelings predominantly because of that fact. I have friends in the IDF who are fighting as I write. I am sorry for that. I am sorry that their government has placed them in the middle of this.

The war perpetrated on the people of Gaza is unexplainable to me. I know that having rockets launched at you can bring one to the breaking point, but this kind of response seems so out of proportion it's mind boggling...

Today I listened to a Human Rights Watch spokesperson describe how he, first hand, had toured houses where white phosphorus rounds had been used on civilians by the IDF. Do you have any idea what that type of shell does? WP spontaneously combusts in the atmosphere when the shell explodes. It produces horrific chemical burns that will burrow through a body. If you live, the burns you have will be deep and incredibly painful. The HRW employee noted that the shell had “Melted a father and four small children” in one home he had toured, while IDF soldiers sat outside on a tank, eating potato chips. That kind of image just makes my heart ache - No one, especially good people, should grow so callous.

What has the Israeli government become? The IDF has struck marked UN safe havens, hospitals, schools, and many, many civilians. I don’t believe that the average citizen of Gaza is any more responsible for the troubles than the average Israeli citizen is responsible for persecuting Arabs. I cannot believe that both don't want, first and foremost, to live in peace.

My greatest heartache comes because it appears that the oppressed have become an oppressor of epic and terrible proportions. It is Old Testament eye for an eye logic employed in a crowded and complex 21st Century world, and no one seems able or willing to stop it.

Gandhi said that an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. I am afraid that right now, in the Middle East, almost nobody can see, and the world is growing rapidly darker.

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