Before crossing the street children in America look both ways for traffic. During my childhood in the Middle East we were taught to look both ways for snipers. Being shot during the war gave me the courage to speak up for human rights.
Political leaders of Middle East conflicts are savage beasts with one main goal: selfish gratification. There are those who are hungry for money and those who are hungry for power, while those that want a change with justice and democracy are silenced and pushed aside.
Born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon in the midst of a savage war, my life there was psychologically daunting. Hiding in underground shelters during the war was on the weekly to-do list. Crossing the street while hiding behind walls and buildings to avoid snipers was a major feat. Sitting in a back seat of a car as a kid approaching a checkpoint with fear for being caught simply for being Palestinian.
Kids and families in America have it so much easier than those living in the Middle East war.
Conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has been almost non-stop for decades. Over and over people have supported Israel’s position without considering the Palestinian side. It is for Palestinians a reminder of slavery in America. Not long ago slavery was legal and accepted by American society without taking into consideration the African-American’s side.
Dr. Deepak Chopra has a simple, yet powerful explanation for the circle of violence.
“Terrorism isn’t insanity,” he wrote. “It grows out of social conditions that are well known: poverty, social oppression, dictatorship and a void of meaning in the lives of ordinary people.”
In last few months people are seeing Israel’s true identity when it comes to mistreatment of Palestinians, which is creating a vicious cycle of anger and violence.
Israel’s government does not want a peaceful resolution with Palestinians, no matter how many times it says so in public. Actions speak louder than words. Israel’s actions have included the oppression and occupation of the Palestinian people for decades. Killing in mass numbers with air strikes and ground invasions, cutting off water and electricity supply, not allowing travel for employment, restricting freedom of movement, shooting at passersby, imprisoning Palestinians for years on end without trial – the list goes on.
America’s mainstream media speaks of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank as if it is something routine. It seems acceptable because America supports Israel. What the mainstream media does not talk about much is how those illegal settlements came about. They came about by ruthlessly kicking Palestinian families out of their homes with no remuneration. Building settlements on hijacked land should never be accepted by anyone.
Israel’s Ministry of Transport recently called for segregating Palestinians with separate bus lines. In 2012 this world is still seeing racial segregation. What would the celebrated and brave Rosa Parks say about this if she were alive today?
Israel’s worst enemy is not the few and hopeless suicide bombers, but the growing peace activists, protesters and human rights organizations that are speaking out against them. For decades the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has stifled them and kept them from the public eye.
Now the IDF is losing that battle. With opposition growing, Israel’s inhumane actions toward Palestinians are being recorded and published online. One human rights organization named B’Tselem went as far as giving Palestinians cameras to record these vicious inhumane activities.
Thanks to the Internet Age more Arabs in the Middle East are seeing and yearning for democratic change. Arab springs have become a powerful force in the Middle East. This is a revolution that is history in the making. Citizens are no longer accepting dictators for leaders. They are finally speaking up for a change in large numbers.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It is time to look at the Israeli/Palestinian conflict from a different pair of eyes. Making the same mistake over and over, in this case supporting Israel over basic human rights of people, is the definition of insanity.
Some connect this issue with religion, but the real issue is human rights and freedom.
Dehumanization of African-Americans years ago was outrageous and it took a long time for the majority to see that. Today’s dehumanization of Palestinians is also outrageous.