Let’s begin with this extremely distressing, but very moving brief clip…
I grew up in the Midwest when America was still proud to be a melting pot of immigrants. We weren’t taught to hate or discriminate. I was wide-eyed and hopeful just like little Rachel in this video. I had friends who went to the Peace Corps and I became a journalist. We were all working for Peace and Truth in our own way… believing if people had facts they would do the right thing.
What an eye-opening journey this life has been. I’m over 60 now and things seem so much worse than I could have imagined. I was sure that after JFK, RFK & MLK were killed, after Watergate, and after the long, horrifying Vietnam war ended, surely there would be peace in the world, or at least here in America. But no. The never-ending conflict in the Middle East raged on and the USA was in the thick of it.
As a 20-something I was shocked to learn what a sinister role we had in that mess. I was also shocked at how America always sided with Israel (I thought because of WW2) and the Saudis for oil. There were “memes” back then, like “The Ayatollah is an ass-a-hola” and even John McCain would sing, “Bomb, bomb, bomb… bomb bomb Iran” (a stupid take on an old Beach Boys song.)
During the Iran-Contra scandal in the mid 1980s (during the Reagan years) I had a new job in Albuquerque, NM as a local government spokesperson. I was paying more attention to my love life and local politics than the weird “arms” trade (selling weapons to Iran? Seemed too complicated.) But, I remember hearing of Islamic Revolutionaries.
By the time Big Daddy Bush (former CIA guy) became President, I knew we were in for a rough ride. He wasted no time before he WAS bombing the Middle East back to the stone age, as so many right-wing hawks wanted. The Gulf War and then Desert Storm were outrageous (or impressive depending on your PoV) displays of American military might.
My then Zen dharma taught me we were creating serious karma in the Middle East.
We sure did. When baby “W” Bush was coronated <sic> by the SCOTUS in 2000, even tho my pal Al Gore won the popular vote, it wasn’t just environmentalists who lost. We all lost. Those Islamic revolutionaries had become terrorists and Americans felt the “shock and awe” this time, horrified when they took down the World Trade towers in 2001.
So what does all this have to do with a girl getting bulldozed in Israel? EVERYTHING.
Israel’s Prime Minister #BiBi Netanyahu refuses to even acknowledge that 3.5 million Palestinians are disenfranchised and living under occupation. That’s not me being inflammatory, those are words used by BiBi’s predecessor Ariel Sharon.*
My point? As little Rachel says at the end, “We’ve got to understand that they are us. We are them.” Bombing, killing, becoming “nationalists”, vilifying “other” whether Islamic or Christian, Israeli or Palestinian only creates more hate and future terrorists.
People have memories and sadly many want revenge. Karma = consequences. As for who started it? We all have. We’ve all harmed someone and we’ve all been harmed.
If we’re EVER going to have Peace (of mind, or planetary) we’re going to have to forgive and move on. It’s called grace by some, compassion by others. Let’s drop the labels and show some. Namaste! (which means, I see myself in you.)
* footnote: Sharon pronounced Sha-rone
Here’s an excellent piece that takes a deep dive into the current Israeli controversy and includes a video of Sharon calling it an “occupation.” <<no need to read it now, unless you want to. >