I can’t just ignore the state of the world, especially since something’s on my mind.
The state of the world today calls for responding with both nuance and more than a nod to the obvious. At the same time.
The Middle East is a complex place rife with nuance. They say the devil is in the details, and it is. Our news is sensationalized so much it’s hard to know what to believe. Most people don’t respond to nuance. Don’t recognize it.
The obvious is…obvious.
And yet what we CAN believe is the obvious: Hamas terrorists slaughtered civilians in cold blood. There is no nuance in that. No defense for that. It’s horrible and it’s wrong.
Terrorism is not a liberation movement, as a friend said.
All week I’ve watched my social media feed with growing dismay. “Friends” (and I use that term loosely because most do not know one another except on a screen) are demanding loyalty tests. Who do you stand for? Do you stand with Israel? or with Palestine? Stand up and be counted.
What’s lost is the nuance: Palestinian does not mean Hamas. It can. But not always. Some who respond with sympathy for the Palestinian plight–not for Hamas but for Palestinians who will be targeted by vengeance– are immediately castigated as being against Israel.
You must fly someone’s flag! these friends demand.
But feeling empathy for someone does not mean you do not feel it for the other.
Revenge is sweet
Some people actually believe this. We are a society bent on revenge. Not just punishment, but revenge, and the quicker the better. “Take no prisoners,” we hear. More death. More destruction. Which seems obvious is actually self-destruction.
Who is flying the flag for humanity? I asked my husband the other day. “There is no humanity flag,” he responded.
Revenge has always troubled me. I am a pacifist. I am against capital punishment.
I am not against punishment. Just against more killing as punishment. In today’s world, this is a nuanced view. People don’t stop to think about it. It doesn’t fit nicely within a loyalty pledge.
The complexities and the nuances
And then I saw an interview that defined nuance. It was with the son of a 74-year-old Israeli peace activist who had lived on one of the targeted kibbutzes. His mother has not been confirmed dead so the assumption was that she’s being held captive.
Her son said something like: “She was obsessed with peace, a peacenik. Her entire life was devoted to peace. She would not want Israel to attack in response. She would be advocating for peace.”
And then, bluntly, he said:
Vengeance is not a strategy
“We need to stop the violence now. Vengeance is not a strategy. Negotiate and get the captives out.” In this moving interview, he said he’s hoping for dawn to come. For peace
“The only way to have safety is to have peace,” he said.
I, too, am waiting for the dawn.
You can see an interview with Vivian Silver’s son HERE.