October 16, 2023

Powerful Words for Israel, Palestine & Everyone who’s on the Side of Humanity.

 

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A few mindful perspectives:

>> “If you have less empathy toward victims because of how you feel about their government, propaganda is working on you.” ~ Ben Sheehan
>> I am an Israeli Member of This Community, and I am Scared.
>> What Hamas did was Horrible & so is what Israel has been doing to Palestinians for Years.
>> As Long as there’s Division, my Children—Our Children—will Never Be Safe.

>> This is Genocide.

~

In the spring of 2020, when George Floyd was murdered and Black Lives Matter protests began popping up all over the United States and across the world, I struggled to find the words to express how I was feeling.

As a woman of color, I felt the familiar weight, like an anvil sitting square on my chest.

And the weight became heavier and harder to bear anytime I watched the news or scrolled through social media and read posts and comments from friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and strangers who all held vastly different views and who didn’t seem to care about how their views contributed to the overall conversation.

There was so much hate and division and ego and prejudice. And reading their words fueled those same feelings within me.

So when I was encouraged to share my feelings and personal experience on Elephant, I originally said no. I knew enough about myself to realize that I was too angry at that moment (and not the helpful, motivating angry) to share anything that would benefit others. To share anything that would move the conversation away from hate and closer to compassion.

And so I sat. And I waited.

I tried to educate myself and take time away from the combative online arena that pops up anytime there’s a national or global tragedy and figure out what I felt—and how I could use those feelings for good, and not just add to the noise.

And then I wrote.

Just 10 days ago, I could feel that same anger bubbling up inside as I learned of the horrendous, devastating Hamas-led terror attack on innocent Israeli citizens, and the horrendous, devastating Israeli government-led genocide on innocent Palestinian citizens.

As I read news coverage and scrolled through aggressively divisive social media posts, I could feel the weight of that same anvil on my chest.

So I sat. And I waited.

What I’ve come up with is this:

It’s important to acknowledge both the things we know and the things we don’t know. And I know that I don’t know everything there is to know about the history between Israel and Palestine.

But what I do know, and what I hope against hope that more people can acknowledge, is that the murder, torture, kidnapping, and hate of any group of innocent civilians for any reason is wrong. Full stop.

That all people, including children and the elderly, deserve peace, freedom, and the ability to live each day without fear and suffering.

That no one should be raped, held hostage, forced from their homes, murdered in the streets, subject to life under apartheid or illegal occupation, or denied basic, life-affirming resources.

That people are not synonymous with their governments or the oppressive ideologies of those who control their countries.

That anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are two sides of the same divisive coin and need to be eradicated.

That when we are talking about genocide and ethnic cleansing, “never again” must apply to all people, all cultures, all ethnicities, and all religions.

And that while we are all human, so many of us seem intent these days to squander our humanity by forgetting that we belong to each other.

I don’t know that I have the right words at the moment to express how I feel. And as the days go by, I find myself saddened and frustrated by so much of what I see online.

But, as is often the case, I have also found solace in the words of others. In the words of those who seem to understand that the only “right” side to be on is that of humanity. And peace. And radical compassion. And mindful action.

So rather than detailing the geo-political history of Israel and Palestine (which we should all educate ourselves on), or attempting to debate about the things that I know I currently don’t know enough about, I want to share the posts and words that have made me believe that humanity is still alive and well, even in the midst of so much death and pain and division and suffering.

May these words be of benefit:

 

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The post caption, via Dan Levy:

“I am utterly exhausted from the relentless misinformation and hatred. Having faced attacks daily for the past week merely for being Jewish and condemning a horrific terrorist attack, I feel compelled to speak out one last time about the situation. We must strive for understanding and compassion; we need to do better.”

 

 

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The post caption, via The New York Times Opinion:

“The terror attacks by Hamas against civilians who were in their homes and dancing at a concert are being called Israel’s Sept. 11, and that’s a fair comparison,” writes @nickkristof, an @nytopinion columnist. “Let’s hope that Israel responds to this outrage more wisely than we in the United States did to the attack on our country.” But dismantling a terrorist organization is harder than it looks, and there are moral considerations to take during times of conflict. In the post Sept. 11 era, Nick wrote about “the risks of invading Iraq, but Americans brimmed with pain, confidence and resolve.” He adds that “what we needed was a companion dose of humility.”

 

 

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The post caption, via Luvvie Ajayi Jones:

“Borrowing the words of others in a moment when devastation happening in Palestine is beyond words I have myself.

45 FAMILIES have been wiped from the Gaza Civil registry. At least 45. Those are bloodlines that have ended. That are no longer.

In whose world is that justified? In whose morality is there just cause? In whose heart can we hold that in?”

 

 

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The post caption, via Talk Thirty to Me:

“This 19 year old Israeli girl survived the horrific massacre in Kibbutz Be’eri. This is her message to her fellow Israelis and to the world. Watch the whole thing.”

 

 

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The post caption, via Amanda Seales:

“Take this as you will. The brilliant James Baldwin.”

 

 

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The post caption, via Ibram X. Kendi:

“A word for peace.”

 

 

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The post caption, via Mastin Kipp:

“The trauma we are witnessing is unbearable, too many lives being lost on both sides and my heart broke at the report of 700+ Palestinian children being killed (reported in CNN, Unicef, Al Jazeera and the United Nations)

Let us pray that a ceasefire happens and we find a way to lasting peace in the region.

May our better angels prevail.

This level of trauma will only create more extremism on both sides, you cannot solve this problem by killing children and the most vulnerable. It will only create new generations of hate.

I am standing against the Hamas attack from last week, and heart broken to learn 700+ Palestinian children have been killed. This cannot be the path forward…”

 

 

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The post caption, via Layla F. Saad:

“I stand for liberation, dignity, and peace for all – which is why I stand for an end to the genocide and a #FreePalestine.

I can and do hold the grief and pain on all ‘sides’, and still stand firmly with the Palestinian people’s decades-long struggle.

I would not be who I am, who my ancestors made me to be, if I didn’t…”

~
And finally, a quote via James Baldwin that holds so much weight in my heart these days:

“The children are always ours, every single one of them, all over the globe; and I am beginning to suspect that whoever is incapable of recognizing this may be incapable of morality.”

~

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