I don’t understand.
Every day I tell little children, “It doesn’t matter who started the fight. You both have to stop.”
Every school year, I help very young children to manage conflict. I work so very hard to show them that we are all part of one community. That our differences are so much less important than our similarities. I spend hours and hours helping young children to learn that might does not make right; that even if you are hit, it does not make it right for you to hit back.
I don’t understand.
Why don’t adults understand these basic lessons?
More specifically, why don’t the men who control the armies understand these basic lessons?
Dead Israeli babies are not brought back to life by dead Palestinian babies. Dead Palestinian Grandmothers are not avenged with the deaths of Israeli Grandmothers. Burned out Jewish villages are not more valuable than burned out Moslem villages. Terrified, cowering Moslem families do not feel safer knowing that there are terrified, cowering Jewish families across the border.
I have been observing and mourning this conflict since 1973, when I participated in a foreign exchange program that sent me to Tunisia, to live with a Moslem family. I knew nothing about Islam, I knew nothing about North Africa, I knew nothing about the Arab-Israeli conflict. I was a teenager who was on her first adventure.
But while I lived with a wonderful, loving, caring, thoughtful, intelligent Islamic family, I learned a great deal about the struggles between the two cultures.
Years later, I took a job as an interpreter for Jewish Family Services, working to resettle Russian Jews into the Boston area. And while I worked with many wonderful, loving, caring, thoughtful, intelligent Jewish families, I learned a great deal about the struggles between the two cultures.
I cannot pick a side in this terrible, pointless, tragic war. I cannot engage in the argument of who started it, or who is retaliating for what.
I am so sad and so frustrated as I watch the bombs arc back and forth, murdering children in their beds.
If I ruled the world, Mothers would be put in charge of every military power on earth. Mothers would serve dinner, kiss their babies goodnight, and then turn to the fights over land and water and oil and power and trade.
I don’t think that other Mothers understand this madness either.