Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Above and Below...Out of Balance

These are legitimate questions. Is the cocky, dominant, top-gun attitude the best for making ethical decisions? In war should we be "removed" from our targets? What numbers are acceptable "collateral" casualties? Where is the leadership? Where is the humanity in war? Where's empathy? When is a response too much?

I taught school at the American International School in Israel for one year in the late '80s. In one senior English class, I had an Israeli (born Canadian) student who had just been chosen to join a pilots program in the Israeli Air Force. He was a blonde, blue-eyed Tom Cruise type. He was also the son of a Jew for Jesus, a Christian convert. His mother objected when I assigned "Native Son" to the class. She didn't want her son to have to read about such a bleak situation. I explained that it was an important work of literature. She didn't want him becoming depressed by it, she countered. I asked how reading a book and discussing issues was more dangerous than choosing to be a pilot and making life and death situations for those people living on the ground. I never got an answer.

You might say it's easy for me to prattle on; after all, I'm not living through bombardment as are the Israelis and, more so, the Palestinians in Gaza. But being able to sit in a safe place in the states leaves me in a different emotional situation than if I were over there. So, I can only imagine how people's judgments are affected by the stress on all sides.

Hamas can be blamed for launching the attacks, but there needs to be a cease fire.

The way forward has to be one of eventually coming together--or at least balancing the seesaw. Like the yin and yang or the two halves of the kabbalistic star...the one on top is not superior, it is merely the one above. The half on the bottom--this is very important--is not inferior. It is the root. The two halves make one. Like in the creation story where the first human was made in the Creator's image with both male AND female parts (Adam/Adamah), they completed each other. Like Adam and Lilith. It wasn't until much later that the superiority/inferiority fallacy emerged.

People don't have to love or even like one another, but they can respectfully work for a more just future for all people. The way forward is not more bombs and rockets. Not suicide and murder.

I love much about Israel--I have friends who live there; I'm hopeful about a Palestinian state and what that could mean for peace.

Meeting your enemy and walking through their world for a day is one way to start. Taking risks for peace is strength, too.

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