3 years ago500+ Views
In May 2002, there was a suicide bomb attack in the small shopping center of my neighborhood. I was on the way from work to the supermarket there when it happened, so if I'd left work 5 minutes earlier, I could be one of the victims. Even worse, my wife and children used to go there almost every day and sit at the same table of the little café that was there, where the 1.5 years old baby and his grandmother who were killed in the attack were sitting. On that specific day, our son said he doesn't want to go. This is why my wife asked me to go to the supermarket on my way home. Our son, the elder of our 3 children, was born in 1996. This means that our children lived their entire lifes in an atmosphere of war and terror. When we were children, we used to believe that peace in our region is just behind the corner. Most Israelis don't believe this anymore. Certainly not those who were born after 1995. Even the more humanistic among us, including myself, feel that we have to accept the bitter truth and acknowledge that this senseless war of attrition will keep going on for a long time. After a while you become numb. You hear about yet another terror attack and you just go on with your life, happy that it wasn't you or someone you know although somewhere in the back of your mind, you always know next time it may be. I remember when I first heard about the September 11 attacks. Someone told me that the world center was hit. My gut reaction was, "Let's hope it was Muslims who did it". I am not proud of this reaction, but if you'd listen to Israelis react to events like the recent attacks in Europe, you will hear allot of this kind of sentiment. We rationalize this reaction as a hope that the world will finally understand what we have to cope with all the time, but in fact, this reaction is the reaction of terror victims. Terror is by definition, aimed at creating a social or cultural bias, first trough intimidating but then trough gaining sympathy. It is the second wave of reaction that has the enduring effect that make terror win. The terrorists want Israelis to say, "Now maybe they'll know what it's like", they want Donald Trump to say the stupid things he said. Bin Laden wanted the U.S. to invade to Iraq. He deliberately targeted the Congress building and not the White House because he knew what President Bush will do. The terrorists don't care how we are going to justify that, as long as what we do is to eventually justify more violence and restriction of human rights. It works in their favor anyway. You don't have to be in the site of a terror attack in order to become a terror victim. You become one by being exposed to stories about terror attacks elsewhere. Good and compassionate people want to sympathize with the suffer of others, but at a certain point it becomes too much to comprehend, and then it gets to you too. You become an unwilling sympathizer and collaborator. So what we are going to do about it?
@danidee, thank you for sharing this. The sad truth is that the Chaotic community in Bethlehem is diminishing. There are only about 4% Christmas left in the City of the Nativity. Pilgrimage tourism, an enterprise that was going in since the 7th century has almost completely stopped too. It's a real shame.
Whenever I hear about what horrible things happen in Israel, I feel lucky that my family moved to America. My mother is from Bethlehem, and her family was able to get to New York City when she was a little to get away from all the violence. My family has always been Catholic Palestinians, and growing up in the 1990s during Persian Gulf, my parents never even really wanted me to know I'm Palestinian because then I would tell kids in school and they were afraid people would connect us to militant groups like the PLO. All the things you hear about the Palestinian people always involves such violence. Sometimes I'm sad that my mom was raised sort of apprehensive to state something that was such a huge part of her identity. It's just as sad that my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents would always tell me stories about how beautiful the Holy Land is and how wonderful their childhood memories were. It's always followed with "But you shouldn't go there. It's a very dangerous place these days." It's a shame that such a significantly holy place cannot find peace.
@nicolejb , I'm sure you don't feel bad for ISIL, but here is how it works: There is a terror attack in California, and then Donald Trump says what he said, and then there are people who go thinking, "You know what? If this is how someone who's running for president talks and it doesn't even affect him in the polls, then maybe ISIL has a point". It's a graduate process, that makes our democracies look bad to more and more people.
Yeah, I've found that it seems like most of the non-Muslim Palestinians have moved to other countries to get away from all the war and to keep their families safe. It really is sad. I hope that your family is able to remain safe and out of harm's way.
Thank you for sharing your perspective. Honestly I think you're doing one of the first steps, thinking critically and then sharing. I definitely think you're right on, terrorist organizations are fueled by Islamaphobia. Prior to the attacks in Paris ISIS/Daesh made it clear their goal was to try to recruit Muslims by manipulating Europeans into alienating and harming them. I think that when it comes to fear, it's not only understandable but rational to be afraid. The problem is what we do about it. Leaders in my country are becoming xenophobic and downright racist, and we (should have) learned from the past that this is not a solution. Compassion is
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