Monday, December 29, 2008

"why blow yourself up?"

It is amazing just how poorly we can see the “other side” of an issue. This past year has provided ample evidence of this, as both Republicans and Democrats continually fail at understanding each other. While politics is one example of this, another is terrorism. What confuses me is the fact that nobody ever asks, “Why blow yourself up?”

In the never ending Israeli – Palestinian crisis, we see Israel always acting in self defense against terrorist acts. Israeli troops are constantly forced to defend themselves against suicide bombers who run into crowded shopping centers and blow themselves up with nail bombs. Cities in southern Israel are forced to be constantly on guard against missiles being launched into their neighborhoods. Few people ever ask, “Why would people do this?” Typically the answer is, “These are evil men.” Or “They are attempting to destroy Israel, because they hate Israel.” The problem with these answers is that they really do not answer the question. They still do not answer the question, “Why blow yourself up?”

Maybe if we begin to dig into this issue, we’ll find that the people in Palestine live in conditions that a Jew would never consider living in. Maybe we’d see that in an attempt to control terrorism, the Jews have closed off the entire Gaza strip and the people there do not have adequate food or medical supplies. If we begin to see that the Palestinians are suffering under the oppressive hands of a nation who cares little for their rights, maybe we could understand why they would see their only chance for survival is to launch crude missiles into nearby Jewish neighborhoods.

This ongoing violence is a result of a lack of critical thinking about the situation. Israel is content in seeing their Palestinian neighbors as less than human. This is the only way to explain the way that they treat those living in the Gaza strip. The Palestinians in the same, fail to value the lives of the Israelis; the very reason they are committing these atrocious acts. Both Jews and Arabs need to cease treating their neighbors as less than human. This is why somebody would blow themselves up.

You see the problem is if we begin to ask this question, maybe we’ll find a reason we do not want to see. Maybe these people feel that there is no other way to stop an abuse. I recently read this quote from Peter Ustinov, “Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.” I cannot defend any acts of terrorism, they are pure evil. I also cannot defend any acts of war, as they are also pure evil. Launching a missile in defense of your nation is just as wrong as sending someone into a crowded intersection with a nail bomb.