Whenever an event of this magnitude happens, which in this region is at least twice a year, there is always the feeling of an obligation to say something. To express something. Something emotional. Something heartfelt. Typically, anger. Yet all I tend to feel is instantaneous frustration. There are things in this life of which we don’t really know the endgame. We don’t how they will end but we are comforted on some level by the realization that there is an end, and it’s not only inevitable tangible as well. That no matter how small the light, it does exist at the very far end of this dark, dark tunnel. With the Palestinian situation, it never feels this way. Hence the frustration. My generation has grown up with such events happening year after year, and on a smaller scale, day after day. And it’s all been a series of disappointments; a continuous cycle of frustration, with just about everything.
To the rest of the world, it’s just another news story. Hamas launched rockets, and Israel struck back. That’s how it reads. People pass judgment based on these “facts” as they are presented. No more, no less. And although this very event has happened many times in the past, the back story is almost irrelevant. On this side of the world, people live that back story every day, and the closer you are to the fire, the more you feel the heat. These events are almost designed for people to judge, in the same way a film, with its heroes and villians, are designed for an audience to make similar determinations. It drives them in that direction. In truth, there is enough judgment and blame to go around. Not one side, not a single variable in this complex equation is innocent, except the civilians, and that’s just the reality of such situations. Two warring sides, civilians in the middle.
On the surface, these events are always whittled down to simplest of terms, the lowest common denominator possible. One side launches rockets the other retaliates aggressively, just what the doctor ordered in this region.
Beneath it all, there are complexities that most people don’t even consider yet alone grapple with on a daily basis. But once you do, you begin to see where to more accurately throw your blame:
To the Israeli government and its policies regarding Gaza. Today, the world wakes up to an attack and yet few remember that this piece of land with all its people have been under siege for months and months now. Imagine a life where the most simple things in your day are determined by your enemy. Be it food you eat, the clothes you wear, the fuel in your car or the heat in your home. Even your joy or your sorrow are based on things completely out of your control.
To the Hamas and all the little movements operating in Gaza. The political grabs, the futile rocket launches. The vain leadership.
To the Arab governments. Actions speak louder than words, and our leaders display little of both.
To the Arab street, whose populations only wake up for a protest once or twice a year and then disperse, and then forget, and then ignore, and then lose hope.
To the American and western governments, not only for their support of Israeli policies but for the decade of ignoring the problem all together hoping it would go away.
In a matter of weeks or months, these next few days will be completely forgotten. Things will go back to the way it was. Judgments will have been passed and forgetting. The policy of ignoring the situation will be reinstated. The cycle will restart itself.
That may be the only consistent thing about this ongoing situation: the restart button.