Monday, 19 November 2012

I know people on both sides

of the Israeli-Gaza border. They are not friends as such, more colleagues. I have never actually met them. I really know very little about their personal lives.
What I do know is that they also know each other - and that makes their desire for peace very personal. Each of them is worried for the other, for someone they actually know. They are worried for someone they have worked with.  It does not matter that they have different religious beliefs. They all believe the others have the right to live free of the fear of attacks.
Everyone has that right. I really do not understand what people think when they watch the television news and hear "a rocket was fired..." or "was targetted in self-defence..." Many people appear to have grown immune to the atrocities of conflict everywhere. They see too much of it on their television screens during the news. It no longer has any impact on them.
I also know people who are working in the camps that have sprung up because of the Syrian conflict, just as I know people who are working in other conflict and disaster zones in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere They are not immune to the atrocities of conflict.
People are risking their lives living and working in all these places. They can work twenty hour days under the most appalling and dangerous conditions. They get exhausted. They can get ill. It is both physically and emotionally draining. Sometimes they pay their own fares and give up their annual leave to go and help for a few weeks. Some have taken extended leave. Occasionally their colleagues will cover for them so they can stay longer. They work with people who want peace and people who do not want peace.
But, most people do want peace. It is a tiny minority of radicals who do not want peace. It is a tiny minority who are not prepared to make the necessary compromises, who are too selfish to share and who believe they have some sort of God given right to impose their beliefs on everyone else. They are the ones who urge others into action, who tell people what they "must" think rather than have them think for themselves.
It is our failure to think for ourselves that allows that tiny minority to become much too powerful.

1 comment:

the fly in the web said...

And to be able to think for ourselves we need good, free education for both sexes...something I benefited from but which has, in my view, disappeared in the U.K. for over a generation.

Put schools into these communities...not religious ones...

But then I am forgetting...the fanatics run the places