sexta-feira, julho 25, 2014
How I feel about the reactions to the present Gaza war
I'm getting so depressed about the subject of the Gaza war. War is always terrible, people die, get hurt, lose everything, hate runs loose. Unfortunately, as History repeatedly shows, there are and probably will ever be times when countries will have to use violence and go to war. It's pretty obvious that this is one of those times: Israel had no other way to protect its people from the Hamas repeated aggressions but to respond with a war operation to dismantle their capacity to attack it.
But, apart from the terrible violence that war inevitably entails, the loss of lives and the suffering on both sides, it's most disheartening to feel that this conflict, even if Israel succeeds in the short term (and I hope it will), will not be over in the foreseeable future, probably not in decades. The Palestinian problem, even if it receives a lot more press than other and much bloodier conflicts, is just a tiny part of the Arab / Middle Eastern quagmire - it's just a part, and far from the worst, of the terrible mess the Arab world is in since the decadence of the Ottoman Empire, much worsened since WWII - just look at Syria, Iraq, Egypt, the obscene oil monarchies...
And most depressing of all is looking at all the hate circulating, all the outsiders in the West taking fanatical stands, shouting insults and slanders or cheering, as if they were watching a particularly fierce football game between teams that awaken strong feelings. The amount of news, videos, facebook posts, nasty arguments, hateful lies, is appalling. It's known that "truth is the first victim of war", and one can understand the need by the belligerent parts to use propaganda; but the outsiders should be able to keep a cooler head and take a more dispassionate and rational view. As a Portuguese journalist wrote today on her column, "when the mere mention of the conflict makes people in Europe and the US start shouting insults and coming to blows, how can we expect serenity from the ones directly involved, in the terrain and with guns?". There are a lot of good analysis of this Western frenzy (like this one) but it doesn't make it any less depressing and obscene. It's obscene people shouting death to the Jews, it's obscene all the manipulation and fotoshopping of gory images (as if the true pictures were not horrible enough), it's obscene the stereotyping and demonization of one people or the other, etc. Makes one wish all these warmongers on the couch got a one-way ticket to the Middle East and be left there to fend for themselves.
In the meantime, I worry about the friends I have in Israel, who are in the middle of it all - and, tellingly, are far from being the ones with the most hateful speeches - and wish and hope they and their close ones will get through it all unharmed. And I'm sad when I see other friends, who I know are decent and humane people giving way to the warmongering hate frenzy, taking things at front value, disregarding the big picture and neglecting to remember that most people on both sides are ordinary humans caught in a terrible and extremely difficult to solve situation.
That's why I post and comment less and less on facebook posts about the war. My Israeli friends know I care and support them, and I really don't want to fight with the others, it's not only depressing but useless.