Israel: Peace or Just Pieces?


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Israel: Peace or Just Pieces?

There is a fairly crude English saying that goes, "Same shit, different day." Basically nothing new, just the predictable.

How sad it is that this saying is becoming so applicable to the state of affairs in Israel. Yet with each day, we are beginning to see and expect the same thing over and over. Another day, another bombing, another set of lives ripped apart. Yawn?

Hardly.

The complacency with which so many of us live our day to day lives, can never be allowed to overtake our reactions to the devastation, hatred and terrorism. I live half a world away from the danger. Half a world away from the smell of explosives, the stench of death. How easy it would be to simply turn off CNN and ignore what does not touch me. Certainly, living in Texas, half a world away from Israel, this is not personal, right?

Wrong.

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I have been cyberfriends with a 16 year old girl in Israel for the past six months. She teaches me about life in her land, I teach her about life in mine. We email about light subjects such as swimming and schoolwork. We also share our thoughts on the world around us. I know her fears for a brother who recently went into the military - a two year requirement of every 18 year old. I read her trauma as she has written to me just after hearing another bomb go off close to her home. And I openly share her heartache for her inability to connect with a future for herself, her friends.

She is currently studying for finals, and jokes at the futility of it all. Black humor yes, but exactly how does a young person manage to keep an eye on the future through a constant haze of smoke?

Like many she has held out hope for the peace talks, saying that the recent summits, "left us happy Ariel Sharon had changed . . . and was willing to make some serious steps towards peace . . . and the words by the opposing Prime Minister were so positive as well." High hopes once again blown to pieces in the wake of more bombings leaving her to write, "Now it seems no matter what the leaders say the terrorists will win. They don't want peace, period, they prefer death and hatred. I am usually a positive person, but I am losing hope."

I cannot blame her.

The reality is that regardless of the words spoken by politicians and world leaders, no lofty "road map" is ever going to create a super highway with on-ramps to peace and brotherhood. The terrorism knows no borders, the hatred acknowledges no power but its own, and Death is an equal opportunity employer - simply taking all comers.

I do not pretend to completely understand all that has gone before and contributed to generations of people bent on the destruction of one another. And I certainly do not profess to have anything even remotely resembling an answer. What I do have is the friendship of a young girl, who at 16 deserves a life that includes peace, not the weary acceptance of watching her land and her future shatter into pieces.

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