Thursday, July 13, 2006

Who are the terrorists?

Israel is bombing Lebanon. Hezbollah guerrillas are firing into Israel. Two soldiers have been captured by Hezbollah and at least one woman was killed by their shootings- Are they the terrorists? 45 people and 2 soldiers have been killed so far by Israel's bombs - Are they the terrorists?

Israel occupies Palestinian land - Are they terrorists? Palestinians fight back - Are they terrorists? The US unilaterally supports Israel - Are WE terrorists? What about Syria supporting Hezbollah - Terrorist? Iran - Terrorist?

I have decided that this word should no longer be used, ever. ALL people who seek to bring pain, war, suffering and domination and indeed terror should be considered terrorists. Why is it that the only terror we ever consider is our own. I do not make light of 9/11, it caused pain and suffering beyond imaging for me. But when we respond by beginning a war in Iraq and consequently causing the Iraqi people to live in fear and terror are we any better? Can the fear that the Palestinians live with each day justify hostility to Israel? Can the fear of Israel justify the occupation of Palestine?

Terrorists cause terror - whether by bombs and airplanes, rockets, guns, hunger, pain, instabilty, war, destruction. But the act of being a terrorist is often a response to being terrified as well. Whose rights to live in a world free of terror should we bow too? The world should be working toward peace and I'm so sick of all the justification for war being terrorism. We are a part of it, we are a cause of it, and on occasion we even fund it. We are not innocent, we are not free, we are not the moral compass of the world. The US is no different than the Arab world, or North Korea, or Israel or Lebanon or Palestine. The only difference is that we have bigger guns to respond to our own terror with. But the guns do not solve the problem, merely create more terror in the world.

I am sad today. I have been to Israel. I have been to Palestine. I have been to cities being bombed in Northern Israel. I have seen old land mine fields and learned of the 6 day war. I've seen settlements on Palestinian land. Million dollar houses walled to protect themselves from the refugee cities next door. I have seen flocks of hungry children. I have seen the Jewish people worship at the wailing wall, Christians worship at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Muslims pray at the Dome of the Rock during Ramadan. I have seen the city of Jerusalem, filled with hope and fear at the same time.

I have seen fear in the face of Israelis and Palestinians alike. I have heard their claims to a life of peace and freedom. I have been called a Nazi for walking near a settlement in the West Bank. I have met children who've seen too much suffering already, and their parents who've seen more. I have been moved by the holiness of the place, and wept for the fighting for the "right" to own that holiness.

I don't know what will come of the acts of war happening today. But both sides have lost already. Who are the terrorists? Who is free from the terror? Just take the time to pray that it doesn't get worse, and that peace may win out over war and fear.

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