Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Israel and Gaza at War...Continued

Are we ready for the next entry in the Israel, Gaza conflict? I hope so. Now, this post is bound to be controversial. I fully expect to hear about it from somebody, but I intend to speak my mind nonetheless. So without further ado and invoking the previous day’s warnings, here we go.

1. I have friends on both sides of this conflict, Jewish and Arab alike, I love you all but I’m sure that some of what I may say will piss you off. Sorry. I’m going to say it anyway. For those who know me, I would hope that you would feel free to express your views on this matter knowing that I fully respect your thoughts and opinions. That does not mean that my views will change. It does mean that I am willing to hear what you have to say. For anyone else who wishes to comment please know this; your opinions will be equally respected, acknowledged, and considered providing they are given with dignity and tact, and are free from bigoted, slanderous, or hateful remarks.
2. My primary interest in this conflict is humanitarian, not political, but I intend to cover diverse subject matter. This means that this post will be VERY long. I will be subdividing it into the following topics: The history of the conflict; The terrorist perspective; The political perspective; The humanitarian perspective
3. Lastly, some of the discussion and many of the pictures may be difficult for some people to deal with. Please know that my only intent is to draw attention to the serious nature of this conflict in hopes that we may soon see an end to a most horrific situation.

The Terrorist Perspective:

The question that’s begging to be asked in my mind is, “What defines a terrorist?” or “What makes a person a terrorist?” To me, I think the definition is completely relative. I think it all depends on how you look at the situation. In other words – terrorism is in the eyes of the beholder.

Now, I feel that anyone who finds it necessary to kill another human being in order to get something they want, regardless of what that is, is a person who has a lot of moral dilemmas to work out. But lets face it people, a terrorist is a person whose goals, and or agenda, is contrary to the dominating government entity and who takes violent measures to achieve their goal/s. The governing body at the moment will always determine who the terrorists are.

This means that, yes; the people responsible for founding our country were technically terrorists. I would think that you would be hard pressed to find a person in the 18th century British ruling party who thought otherwise. There have been many acts of terrorism throughout human history and it is always the people whose views or principals that are being challenged who jump on the term and tag their opponents as terrorists.

The fact of the matter, though, is like it or not, the so called terrorists may have a fierce principal that they are standing up for, such as say; freedom from oppression. Whatever the reason, a terrorist is only a terrorist to those who oppose him. To others, he/she is a freedom fighter, or even a hero.

I know this argument has been made before, but I think it’s valid and worth reminding people that we need to take a good hard look at those we deem terrorists and try to understand why they are acting the way they are. If we don’t we will never find peace. Also, it doesn’t matter who the terrorists are, when it comes to war people die. And that’s what’s at the bottom of our outrage when it comes to acts of terrorism. People die, and we hurt for them. We don’t want to hurt for the terrorist because they are the ones who have caused the initial pain, and so we label them evil and dismiss their pain. We demonize them, make them less than human so that we can justify to ourselves our own hatred and pain. I think that may be human nature, but it doesn’t change the fact that somewhere out there is someone who has been pushed to the brink by a force that he/she deems to be oppressive.

A terrorist believes that their only recourse is violence. This is why it is near impossible to reason with them or make them believe that other alternatives could be more effective. In their minds, all other options have already failed. This doesn’t make for a very promising outcome. Either the terrorists lose, or the ruling government loses. You would think that a terrorist could see the lack of his/her own best interest in this scenario, but lets face it, too many times throughout history terrorists have been successful. That information probably doesn’t help in the dissuading of a terrorist. I mean think about it. You’ve watched your loved ones suffer, possibly die, under the current regime. You’ve had everything taken from you and are left with no means to express your voice and outrage. You can either give in and except the oppressed life that you’ve been handed, or you can fight. If you fight there’s a good chance that you’ll lose but at least you’ll go out defending your right to live as you see fit, and maybe you’ll be able to set enough of an example that others will follow in your footsteps, hence, keeping the fight alive. Maybe not in your life time, but at some point, the people you care about will be able to live in a manner of their own choosing. And, there is at least some chance that you could win. What would you do?

I know enough people, here in the US, who would be willing to fight to the death over stupider causes than one’s freedom. When a person is desperate they take desperate measures. I don’t think we’re all that far removed, yet, from the animal instinct that causes a strike when cornered. Am I defending terrorism? That’s actually a tough question. Personally, as close to a pacifist as I am; I am not a total pacifist. If I’m being attacked, I’ll defend myself. If I watched a government slaughter my family, or others that I cared about, and then lock me away. I’d have to say; damn straight I’d fight back. Let’s face it that’s one of the things that makes us who we are. Can anyone say…Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood? Hell, I don’t think there’s an American out there today who can’t relate to the movies these guys have been in. Let’s face it, they have all fought (and won) to defend their, beliefs, way of life, and loved ones. In the eyes of a terrorist, they see their self in the way Hollywood makes us see our pop idles. Defenders of what’s good and what’s right, and to them, that’s worth dying for.

Tomorrow I’m going to take a look at the political perspective. Today’s post was rather general in that it didn’t specifically speak on any Israeli or Palestinian terrorist. I guess I did that intentionally. I wanted to examine why a terrorist, any terrorist, chooses that course of action. Tomorrow I’ll focus more directly on the ruling parties of Israel and Hamas, and their political interests. Oh and, sorry for the last picture…I couldn’t resist.

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