Saturday, June 5, 2010
(Israel/Palestine from space)
Whenever I follow the Arab-Israel conflict in the media (and the same is true of every other conflict - social, political, or whatever else) I have the impression that the whole game consists of people taking up a 'position'
(which is another way of saying they have made up their mind about something in advance, usually according to some political or social or gender-ideological principles or theories)
...and then spouting their 'judgments' (which are usually violent condemnations, and which are usually directed at individuals whom they have never met and of whom they know nothing beyond the fact that they belong to the 'other' side).
There is usually nothing to distinguish the positions and judgments(or manners) that are held and uttered on either side of any given conflict. Only the group names are different.
This has become such a normal thing that we don't notice it any more. But that we don't notice it is remarkable if we pause to reflect. Do any of us really believe that we belong to a group (whether it is a nation, a cast, a cult, a gender, a race, a sexual minority) that is in some way superior to other groups?
- that we are victims in a way or to a degree that others are not? - that our group is not in fact exactly the same as the rest of the world? -
...and that 'our' group is not bedeviled with exactly the same self-centredness, follies, narrow-mindedness etc as all other groups?
There are, of course, millions of sane people caught up in these conflicts who are aware of this, and who wish it were different - but there is no way they can stop being Jews, Arabs, Americans etc because that is simply the way the world is organised.
Whenever I use these collective terms - Jews, Arabs, Republicans, Christians, Muslims - I wonder Who do I actually mean? Where is the reality in these thoughts?
I have to remind myself that I am the world. I am part of all this. I am implicated in everything I observe ‘outside’ of myself – and the violence, hatred, bigotry etc that I observe in these conflicts find a perfect reflection in my own soul.
The only important difference between this ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ is that whereas I have almost no influence on external conflicts I do have the power to change myself. Yet the temptation is always to direct my efforts to changing the world – to attack ‘them’, the evil guys ‘out there’ – rather than to try to change the only thing that I have a realistic chance of being able to change – ie myself.
But I remind myself I am not alone. There are millions of us – Queers, Jews, Arabs, Muslims – who want it to be different, and who believe that it would be different if only we could find a way of reaching each other.
Which is what blogging is all about, I suppose, so please don’t stop, Uncle.
(I won't. Thanks Sion, and thank you to the good comrades that have contacted me, and supported this blog in it's time of doubt, and trouble.)