It’s gray and raining. Raining as if the earth itself were crying. As if the gray “inside” me and the gray “outside” were one and the same. As if the very light of the world was going out.
We’ve had so many gray, shattering moments over the last seven or so years. The election of a wanna-be dictator, who put his own darkness as more important than the life of anyone else. Luckily, we also had some relief, some sunshine, as he, despite his lies, was voted out of office and now faces prosecutions for some of his most major crimes. We had a life-shattering pandemic. We had all the weather disasters signaling the climate itself was shattering. We had the invasion of Ukraine by another dictator.
But this…. Hamas invading Israel and committing such torture, of children and of so many others. And then, the whole world waited to see what horrors would follow in retribution, as Israel attempts to free the hostages and end Hamas forever. A whole world seemingly brought to the edge. And then the violence continued.
However, as many have said, an idea can’t be killed. Many of us are acting to limit or control the violence. But the killing, maiming, torture, and displacement continues. It must somehow stop.
What kind of humanity will emerge from these flames? Who will we, we individuals, and we as a species, show ourselves to be? This moment is all we have.
What face will we see as ourselves? What will we do? Will we lay blame, or will we model compassion? Will we care more for securing our assumptions and beliefs than perceiving the reality of the whole⎼ the reality of ourselves, of all humanity, all life? After 70-80 years of such grief, and historic trauma going back before that for years and years, of fear, anger, and horror, compassion is not the first response that might come to us. But what about those of us not in Israel and Palestine?
Whenever we feel tempted to believe we know the one and only truth, we must look more carefully. Many of us focus on Israel oppressing the Palestinians for years, keeping millions locked into a tiny space under inhumane conditions. And this, I think, is part of the truth. Or we might see that Hamas has been secretly plotting for years for this moment; planning to utterly destroy the Jewish state, maybe destroy all Jewish people they find. And this, too, is part of the truth. Or maybe other nations in the area have been contributing to keeping Palestinians locked up in Gaza, to serve their own purposes? The situation is so complex; so much I don’t know.
But why close our minds with blame, and justify it with hate, instead of feeling our shared humanity? Why must we demonize one person or group? Why must blame come first? Too often, blame paves the road for violence to travel on. Can’t our pain unite us? We need to quickly recognize what or who is dangerous to us. But can’t we use less distorted distinctions than those based solely on race, nationality, religion, gender, etc. to do so?
Many claim it’s just human nature to create in and out groups. But whatever we say about human nature we can find factual evidence for the opposite….
*To read the whole article, please go to The Good Men Project.