Until you have lived it, it’s hard to really understand the full complexities of this war (or any war for that matter). People read or are told all kinds of untruths about this war and seem keen on spreading them further, with such anger and hate in their voices. There are MANY guilty parties in this war, who have committed tremendous wrongs against other human beings. It is no longer a matter of who started what. Deciding blame is no longer an option. This war needs to stop and some sort of peace must begin to be built. The major human rights abuses need to stop.
What I find so frustrating about the whole situation is the veil of propaganda that surrounds this war, and the way cultural violence is like gasoline on the fire to an extent that atrocities are spinned to be some sort of a positive.
The civilians living in this area, whether Palestinian or Israeli (and others), should not have to live in fear. They should not have to endure bombings or terror attacks or the denying of any human right. These atrocities need to stop.
I feel that I have to say that I was very nervous printing our first Middle East Issue of A Peace of Conflict. It’s not that I don’t really know about the conflict. I have read extensively on the subject for many years now and visited the region, and know some of the destruction that is capable with my own eyes. As a Canadian, it shocked me beyong belief to see the bullet holes and bombed out bulidings on my first arrival. In Canada, I had always lived a peaceful existence, and war was this distant thing I had only really read about or watched on tv. So I asked Heather, my co-editor if she would write the Israel-Palestine briefing for the issue, because I was sure that in the 200 words alloted that I would have trouble staying neutral, which is something we try to do in the country briefings. And I was also very afraid.
I was afraid to write a piece about the conflict directly, because where do you begin? And how do you avoid the angry backlash that always seems to follow any words about this conflict? How do you avoid spreading propaganda, and how do you keep from hurting others with your statements?
I felt it’s necessary to discuss the fear that I feel in writing about the issue, because that’s part of the cultural violence. It stems dialogue. It stops relationships. It closes minds. It needs to stop.
Cultural violence surrounds the people living in this region. It is ensuring the conflict continues. The people face it in the media, at home, at work, at school, on the streets. It propagates and angers and creates hate. Many Israeli and Palestinians are trying to demand more peaceful solutions to this conflict, and their voices must be heard. Our government must listen to their needs and assist them in developing a peacebuilding solution that can be lasting. Transformation processes must be done to simmer the conflict that rages on between the Israeli state and Hamas.
Peace in the Middle East!