I had this conversation once with my mother, about why “those people” can’t stop killing each other. If someone killed me, I asked her, would you forgive him?
No, she said.
Why do they hate us? Why do they hate each other? Why do we hate each other? If someone killed you, would I forgive him? No, no, never, never. The point isn’t who’s right and who’s wrong, the point isn’t even in the neighborhood of who started it, either, so the arguments about provocation and response are pointless. What would you do, someone killed your children? Your friends? Your neighbors? Your family? What would you do to him? To his children? To his friends? To his neighbors? To his family? This is the oldest story there is, and it isn’t a foreign one, no matter what the names on the news tell us. We have our blood feuds here, too. What would you do? If you say you know, you’re a liar.
This piece argues Israel and Palestine can’t solve this on their own. I’d go further, spin it out to its end: Nobody can solve this on their own. Don’t look at what’s happening there and say it’s particular to there, don’t stop yourself from considering it as if in the mirror. They aren’t them. We aren’t us. It’s all one thing.
Be honest. I’ll start. There are things about which I am not rational. There are matters on
which you can argue until you are blue in the face with me and you will
get nowhere becauseshut up, that’s my family you’re talking about, somebody who sat at my dinner table and fought my fight and fuck you,
basically, you might be right but you might as well be talking to a
wall. Those things I’m not rational about, it would take somebody
physically shoving me backward, chaining me up, to get me to stop. It
would take someone convincing me that I couldn’t be the one convincing
others, and that would be hard, but it would need to be done.
would you do? The lure of history and family and loyalty, what would
you if it was you? Would you forgive? No, my mother said, never. Multiply by thousands and you have a war. Multiply by millions and you have the human race, loving one’s enemies be damned. We say there’s a we and a they and an us and a them? How dare we? When we casually declare every day that you ruin the life of somebody I love and I’ll spend the rest of my life ruining the rest of yours, is it any more civilized we do it with economics instead of with rockets? Are we really so different, over here?
I’m barely talking about Israel and Palestine, is that making sense?
I’m talking about how we as Americans watch this shit on the evening
news and think to ourselves, “Why can’t those people stop killing each
other?” Why don’t they just nuke each other into oblivion? Why don’t we
let them? Hell, why don’t we help? I’m talking about how we look at
this, how we separate it.
How we say we know what we’d do.
How we lie.