Oppresses with violence other beings who also desire happiness,
Will not attain happiness hereafter.
How is it that we continue to treat lunacy and murder as if they made sense?
How is it that we continue to behave as if mass murder were a legitimate solution to human problems?
It is that way because we tend to empathize with one side and not the other. Maybe we like Israel, and we identify with them because there are people shooting rockets at them and they are surrounded by hostile governments who exercise horrific rhetoric about them. Barack Obama himself said that if there were people shooting rockets at places where his own daughters were sleeping, he would do everything he could to stop them, and so should the Israeli people.
This is understandable. I can feel the emotional appeal of that argument myself. Touch one hair of my Gabriel's head, and I would be inclined to tear you limb from limb. There is, however, a problem with this argument, as with most arguments that rest on passion. This is the same justification used by terrorists. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
As long as we are using passions to examine human problems, put yourself in the position of a parent in a land occupied by a foreign power for two generations. You live quarantined, unable to move about freely to obtain work, and your children have trouble getting access to the nutrition and sanitation they need to live and thrive. Is there a possibility you would do something desperate?
The only sensible side to take in this stupid Gordian conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis is the side of humanity. If both sides truly wanted that, they would each make painful concessions at the negotiation table and put the life of their children before everything else. The sides should be pledging to help each other succeed rather than pledging each other's destruction. Hezbollah and Hamas are motivated by hatred, yes, and yes, there is a lack of honest negotiating partners -- I get that. Yet bombing innocent people does not root out hatred. Come, friends. It hasn't worked thus far. Are we going to give it a few more wars just in case?
The lunatic ideologies that move terrorists are bred in oppression and futility. And violence, of course.It is typical, sadly, for human beings to raise their children to be soldiers in a glorious cause. The right cause, that being our side. We do not seek peace unless it is on our terms alone. Thus, we seek to win, above everything else, even when it is our own sons and daughters in harm's way. Our mythology must triumph against all other mythologies, and if this means I must bury my child's broken body, then this is -- this is -- further proof that my mythology must prevail!!
Our political leaders become a single party with their side-taking in this conflict, siding wholly with Israel and completely ignoring George Washington's warning to us: "The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave." (From his Farewell Address of 1796)
George Washington was not only talking sense about foreign policy - he was speaking wisdom to individuals as well. Habitual side-taking, positive or negative, is how people convert themselves into slaves who believe they are free. His words echo the wisdom of the buddhadharma, which remind us that we become slaves to our delusions. Our politics get infected with and then transmit this disease.
No more side-taking in this middle-east war, please. Both sides deserve a chance to live in peace, both sides need help in order to do that, starting with a right to live without fear of obliteration. This is not easy to do but it must start with an end to side-taking and, though I ask the improbable, an end to profiteering from death (as when we expedite sales and shipments of bombs to one side in the conflict). The only side to take here, I repeat, is the side of humanity -- if we want peace.
But you know what? I don't think many people actually want that. God as my witness, I think the truth is, human beings prefer this.