Tuesday, July 22, 2014

That was then

… and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time
before that, and the time before that … drawn long ago for my college newspaper,
triggering a few "How dare he?!" letters and calls for my termination.
Herewith, an exercise in futility.

Here, a raw chain of thought, dripping from my fingers rather than being left to stew in my brainpan. It's a  mistake, probably, posting this.

Feelings hurt. Rabble roused.

Maybe it will come to some avail, but I doubt it.

Keep in mind, it's about one of life's Things of Which I Know So Little.

All I know is what I see, and I don't know what I'm seeing.

From half a world away — so far away — I see the government of Israel engage a ground battle into Gaza, the narrow stretch of land bordering Israel and held by Palestinians on the Mediterranean Sea. Israel seeks to demolish tunnels it says is used by Hamas, a militant and political group sharing power in Gaza, to infiltrate and attack Israel, and to destroy sites it says Hamas uses to launch missiles into Israel.

I see that some of the missile sites and Hamas strongholds are in densely populated areas, apparently, and Israeli missile strikes have killed innocent Palestinians, in homes and a hospital — about 70 percent of more than 500 killed, say Gaza health authorities. Palestinian militants have launched missiles into Israel, killing two Israeli civilians. Nearly 30 Israeli soldiers have been killed so far in the latest battle, say officials.

I see that Israel, the United States and other major Western powers consider Hamas terrorists.

Hamas … militants … say Gaza health authorities … terrorists … 70 percent civilians …  say officials …  innocent … all loaded words, triggering anger and agony. They are dangerous words for this subject.

Why do I pay attention now, of all times?! Its strife has droned in the background of my life, all my life. Always has been, always will be, without end, without hope, with blood and pain and loss and rage, now and forever. Amen?

I see ancient grudges, scores to settle, too many ever to really settle. Your children, kidnapped and killed; all right then, your child, burned alive.

Land to settle. My land. No, my land! No, mine!!! This: Also mine. God says so.

Whose god? Who's god?

Something about it now rivets me. My age? A latent fatalism? A piling up of distant atrocities across the world, forming a tower, a teeming pile that I can no longer ignore? Why now?

So the United States supported creation of Israel, a new homeland on ancestral land — on land in which other people had also long been living, are still trying to live.

The United States helps sustain Israel, which exists every day in the struggle of existing, against enemies who would end them. Enemies struggle against Israel, which seems mightily intent on wanting to end them in turn.

Or so I see it now. I see Israel trying to drive Gaza to rubble, into the sea. Maybe it's no different than the last battle, or the last battle before, or the last. Maybe not.

I see some supporters of Israel bristle and boil at the suggestion that Israel's control of Gaza's resources, of its people's coming and going, of its livelihood, parallels the treatment of Jews by oppressive governments that inspired a free state of Israel.

I see we are hardly ones to criticize. We here live and move and have our being by having descended from people who cleared this land of existing cultures so we can exist. This land is our land! Britain drove away the aboriginal people so it could have the bounty of Australia. The western world claimed and took what it needed from Africa and left it reeling still.

We have no moral high ground with which to try to much as a pirouette.

And yet.

I can see, and the world can see now. The world can see the blood and dismemberment. The world can see what appears to be utter control of Gaza by Israel. Despite its hypocrisy, the world should work to end these eons of hatred and bloodshed.

That was then. This is now.

I see no good coming from the status quo. At some point, maybe in my lifetime, the last child will rattle its last bloody breath, the last family will mourn, the last building will be leveled, the last weapon exhausted. At some point, all will be lost.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel seeks "sustainable quiet." He knows, and you know, and I know he won't get it, maybe doesn't want it. We get the ceaseless volley cease-fire negotiations.

But good can still come. Israel and Palestine can co-exist — must exist. It can come from the hardest thing there is: To act the peace and justice and compassion upon which our collective religions were built, upon which humans can live together.

Not just mouthing those tenets. Not justice as in "I'm right, you're wrong," or "I count but you don't."

Nor the dance of diplomacy, the condemning praise and laudatory damnation, that wins a few bits of meaningless quiet so civilians and replenish and hunker again.

Real, actual peace, justice and compassion. By everyone. Looking beyond one's own immediate need to survive. Not anger, not hatred — which are discouraged in our collective relgions.

Surrendering one to the other. Trusting.

See, I told you it was futile.
What went wrong?
Walking tightrope high
over moral ground,
seeing visions of 

falling up somehow

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