Palestine vs Israel
Is it necessary to distance yourself from politics when friendship is at stake or speak your mind?
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”Archbishop Desmond Tutu
As I sit down to write this, I just finished watching a news clip where 2 children, one Palestinian and one Israeli, were asked on a media channel, how they feel about the Israeli-Palestinian ‘situation’.
I am trying very hard to sympathize with both children equally. What can I say – the Israeli has my head, but the Palestinian has my heart.
Before you run on and call me anti-semitic (like a CNN journalist just did to our Foreign Minister at the UN), let’s get things clear.
200 plus lives lost as opposed to 20 is a huge divide. We can definitely add the trauma to children involved on both sides, but even that trauma will be multiplied by a 100 when we look at the number of casualties on one side.
Yes, Israelis can see their friends fall away at this point in time. It is hard for them to justify the ‘conflict’ with a ‘they started it first’ response, because, really, did they? And that sounds very much like what our friend Trevor Noah would say in the Daily Show – a spat between two brothers, one 5 year old and one 15. Really? Does it matter who started it?
The ceasefire is on, but the battle wages on the ground around the Al Aqsa Mosque. As police personnel clash with young Palestinians, is it just a matter of time when the first rocket will be fired again?
Imagine, if someone kicks you in the stomach and they have tied your hands, will you ask for a friend to help hit him back, or will you keep on taking the beating? Of course, the friend has a bow and arrow, whilst your aggressor has a gun.
You know how this will end, but you’ll still call out for help … because that’s what anyone whose hands are tied (and who’s being kicked in the stomach) would do.
Now, coming to the point of having Israeli friends but feeling for the Palestinians. Can you do both together?
Is that a tough one? Not really. I have Indian friends, and I’m Pakistani. We break bread together but we don’t discuss Kashmir, and if we do, we keep it civil. We understand that we need to be more human than the average human being, that if we are feeling too emotional, and angry, and enraged, it’s better not to discuss politics.
Because, it’s not going to end well. And no point in giving up a good friendship for the sake of a war that has soaked in many generations. Let’s just try and reduce the loss of life, pray for peace and not add to the tide of emotions.
It’s very easy to fight, and very hard to make peace. Let’s try and begin with our friends.
Rule #1 Don’t discuss politics if you belong to 2 different sides. IT DOES NOT WORK!
Rule #2 Learn to disengage your friend from the political agenda of the country he/she belongs to. They might not, in fact, rarely, are one and the same.
Rule#3 Speak the truth, but with responsibility
Speak the truth and let your voice count. Because the friend who is counting on your voice, might be listening.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”Dr Martin Luther King Jr