The drama in the Middle East keeps unfolding. These days, with the horrific attack by Hamas on civilians in Israel, and the response by Israel inflicting larger-scale horrors on the Palestinian population in Gaza.
Why is this happening? It’s obviously very complicated.
And yet, the essence may not be that complicated.
The essence is that hurt people hurt people.
The Jewish people have undergone a lot of traumatic experiences throughout history, including the unimaginable horrors of the holocaust.
The creation of Israel displaced or made a minority out of the non-Jewish people living there. (Of course, the Jewish people deserve and need their own country, but it still has consequences. Nobody likes to be displaced from their own country or be made into a minority.)
Since then, Israel has engaged in ongoing human rights violations and violations of international law. They got away with it because the US and large portions of the international community largely have turned a blind eye to it.
The Palestinians have been hurt for decades by this treatment. They respond to this hurt and mistreatment in different ways, often through silent suffering. And some of them respond with violence. What Hamas did is not surprising. And the equally horrific response by Israel is equally predictable.
Many have hurt the Jewish people throughout history. The international community hurt Arab people by creating Israel. Hurt Israeli people continued to hurt Palestinian people over the decades. Some hurt Palestinian people hurt some Israeli people. Hurt Israeli people respond by hurting Palestinian people even more severely. This hurts new generations of Palestinian people who, likely, will continue to hurt Israeli people. The cycle of violence continues.
TRAUMA / FEAR / ANGER / REACTIVITY
Trauma creates fear and this fear is often expressed as anger and reactivity, and sometimes by hurting ourselves and others. (We cannot hurt others without hurting ourselves, and the way we treat others is a mirror of how we treat ourselves.)
This happens everywhere in human life – in ourselves, in families and other small groups, and in large groups and politics.
How do I know about this? It’s not just because it’s been part of my training and work. It’s because these dynamics play themselves out in me and my life as well. The world, as it appears to me, is a mirror of me. I am a mirror of the world.
And how do I respond?
A part of me wants to speak up for the Palestinians – especially the civilians living in Gaza in a horrific situation – since they are the underdogs in this situation.
More essentially, I see traumatized and scared people hurting others and themselves and responding in confused and very understandable ways.
More essentially, I see myself in what’s unfolding.
Even more essentially, I tap into love for all of us and all life, as confused and hurting and amazing as we all are.
Image by me and Midjourney.
Note: When I hint at the history here, I know reality is far more complex. For instance, the creation of Israel was messy and complicated, as is the history of Gaza.Read More