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On Death and Moose - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
March 3rd, 2002
04:30 pm

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On Death and Moose

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From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 3rd, 2002 01:21 pm (UTC)

At Quaker meeting today I found it hard not to cry

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for the 40 or so people who died in Israel/Palestine over the last couple of days. I could have cried, it would have been accepted and understood.

But now, when I'm home, I'm crying. because half of them are invisible to the other half.

There were children dying, Ijon. Babies. Kids who went outside to help their parents, babes born just hours or months ago. Moms dead with babes in their arms. ON BOTH SIDES.

When you count the bodies by faith, aren't you cheapening the humanity of every victim? No children should die or be maimed in a war. No matter what their religion, ethnic background, and family allegience.

FWIW, here in my little piece of paradise, which is even further away from where you are than Maine is, there are weekly vigils in support of various peace efforts, and people donate time, money, and effort to try and resolve the situation. But here, they count all the dead, and they don't color-code them by ethnic derivation.

In tears.

Dena
(who finds the ethnocentric view of the war)
(to be at the root of its continuation)
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From:ijon
Date:March 12th, 2002 08:27 am (UTC)

Part 1

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note: due to LiveJournal comment length limitations, I am splitting my reply into two comments.

>But now, when I'm home, I'm crying. because half of them are invisible to the other half.

That's not true. Many Israelis realize and regret the deaths of Palestinians in this conflict. Since I have no first-hand contact with Palestinians, I can only assume, as well as rely on the media, that there are many Palestinians who regret Israeli deaths too.

There are groups on both sides (and attempting to ignore the division into sides is like pretending there is no conflict) who wish the other group dead, or at least powerless and reduced to the state of refugees. In fact, following the atrocities committed in the occupied territories, the media reported of polls among Palestinians indicating 95 per cent of that population supports terror attacks against Israeli civilians. I'm not surprised. I understand how these terrible, murderous opinions are formed. I can't honestly say that were I a Palestinian today, I would not act violently to defeat the Israeli occupation.

The point is that there is a lot of justified anger on both sides, as well as a lot of justified despair. Each side suffers from the lack of a solid democracy, the lack of responsible leadership, and fundamentalist religion.

This despair led me to write the message you have responded to, expressing my inability to even keep up with the names of the dead on the Israeli side, not to mention the Palestinian side. Not mentioning the Palestinian side does not mean that I deny the fact that many Palestinians were killed, nor that I do not care about their deaths. However, I regret to say that unlike you, I find that I'm unable to shed tears for these dead, neither Israelis nor Palestinians. I just can't feel shocked and sad at such inevitable results of the disastrous decisions both sides make; outraged, certainly; desparate, even; but not shocked. I wrote this entry to try to force these deaths to mean more than statistics for me.

>There were children dying, Ijon. Babies. Kids who went outside to help their parents, babes born just hours or months ago. Moms dead with babes in their arms. ON BOTH SIDES.

Yes, there were. Again, my mentioning the Israeli dead count does not mean I don't realize children and mothers do not get killed on the Palestinian side.

>When you count the bodies by faith, aren't you cheapening the humanity of every victim?

No. When you twist my words and put up a strawman to attack, aren't you being intellectually dishonest, or at the very least rude?

And I counted the bodies (in this particular instance) by nationality, not faith. You stuck your prejudices about my position onto my words, unjustly.

> No children should die or be maimed in a war. No matter what their religion, ethnic background, and family allegience.

I agree. (except that it's spelt allegiance)

-->continued in part 2, below.
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From:ijon
Date:March 12th, 2002 08:33 am (UTC)

Part 2

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continued from part 1, above

> FWIW, here in my little piece of paradise, which is even further away from where you are than Maine is, there are weekly vigils in support of various peace efforts, and people donate time, money, and effort to try and resolve the situation. But here, they count all the dead, and they don't color-code them by ethnic derivation.

Again, distinguishing between Israeli casualties and Palestinian casualties does not necessarily mean their deaths are deemed of unequal import or injustice.

I don't know what else to say; you have simply (chosen to?) misread my statement and responded to a value-judgement I did not make.

As for vigils in Port Townsend, it's a laudable effort, but do you think it is at all useful? Does it at all affect the situation? Does it save even one life?

>In tears.

>Dena
>(who finds the ethnocentric view of the war)
>(to be at the root of its continuation)


Well, that may be, but I don't think ethnocentricism is going to go away any time soon. So we can either wring our hands and say "let's all be brothers and forget about ethnoi and nationalities" until everybody listens, or we can take different, more pragmatic steps, to cease bloodshed in this cursed land.

I happen to think what is at the root of the current bloodshed (as distinct from the root of the general Jewish/Israeli<-->Arab hostility) is the illegal and immoral settlement of the occupied territories by Israeli citizens. I think the primary reason people still die all around me is that no more than 20,000 Israelis are refusing and actively sabotaging any and all peace initiatives that include an evacuation of said settlements from the OT. These people, by their actions, are the fuel for the terrorists who have killed six Israelis today, and will kill more by the end of the week, and still more next week.

I happen to think that the so-called "settlers" will never evacuate peacefully, and that consequently Israeli cannot relinquish its control of the OT without going into civil war. I further think that this must happen before Israel can try to rebuild all that has been destroyed and poisoned by its occupation of another people.

And I don't need tears to make my point.
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