What does this mean in a time where there is so much conflicting evidence, opinion and ways of being?
What does this mean when I see one overall picture and understand that (as much as I can anyhow) and yet when I look at some of the details and nuances of the picture know that I can’t ignore those too?
What does this mean when I understand that one man’s army/ terrorist is another’s freedom fighter?
The past 10 days we have seen escalations of rockets and strikes in Israel and Palestine.
We have heard horrific stories from people who have been able to tell them out of Baghdad, Iraq.
How quickly I forgot that wars can’t be won in social media platforms.
How quickly I forgot that posting a status doesn’t communicate anything of my position rather simply puts me at one end of the extreme or the other – and alienates discussion.
Do I think that it’s important for me to know why I think what I think and be willing to stand up for it? Yes.
Do I think that I am always wise in the way that I have positioned this? No.
A friend’s Mom who has known me since I was 12, said to me in a discussion “you and I both suffer with this desire for everything to be right and fair”. She and I have been communicating via facebook and via email in an attempt to figure things out – something I so value and appreciate. Not because we want to be right, but because we have both wanted to understand more.
This weekend I have had nights of poor sleep which have involved lying awake and praying – for Israel, for Palestine and for Iraq. Nights where I have asked God to make sense of this for me, to make sense of how people can do to others what is and has been done.
Someone posted back on something I had posted on facebook and asked for input on, that “regardless of who holds the passport, one life lost is one life too many”. I totally agree with her: This I have never disputed and ironically is very much in keeping with the Israeli position on life.
A wise man I know told me to be pro-peace, pro-people and pro-the Existence of the State of Israel, a place where Jewish people – and others – have a home, in where I position myself.
In my own reflections I have read and been sitting with Ecclesiastes 7: 18
“It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The wise man who fears God will avoid all extremes” (NIV)
“It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it” (The Message)
So what does this mean for me, in my (limited) understanding of the current, but ongoing, crisis:
• I understand the fact that Israel has rockets launched into it weekly, if not daily, from Gaza and that these go unreported and unknown for the vast majority of us. Someone I know lives in a part of Israel that has rocket alerts at the very least, once a week – he is a peace loving person, who sees value in ALL people and wants peace. He has no political agenda in sharing this information. These ongoing “rockets” have happened in one way or another since the establishment of Israel in 1948.
• I understand that to be a Palestinian means to be treated differently. I know that there are aspects of this that don’t make sense to me at all and I know that there are aspects of this that need to be addressed and looked at.
• I also know and have personally witnessed Arabs and Israelis co-existing and doing life in Israel – living, eating, shopping and studying together. I ate & shopped in Arab owned businesses which my Jewish friends took me to and where they were all known by name.
I see a piece of the picture for Israel. Israel who has heard repeatedly that they are not recognised by certain parts of the Arab world, that they need to wiped out and I see the horrible details in this picture belonging to the people of Palestine.
I have learnt this week that I feel strongly that to see one without the other is to not see the full picture:
That they are different parts of the same picture.
I have learnt that I have failed in being a peacemaker in this – and I am sorry for this.
I have learnt that it matters to me that we are not selective in the “justice via social media” that we are dispensing – that what is happening in Iraq matters just as much as what is happening in Palestine and Israel and that my frustration levels at people not acknowledging this is what has contributed to my failing in part, in the way I have responded.
I have learnt, that to quote Solomon:
“Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good” (Ecc 9:18)
Blessed are the peacemakers in our world who are weeping together, walking together, mourning together.
May I learn what it means to be one of them.