What’s up with the Middle East, anyway?

This topic enrages me, so I tend to avoid it. I don’t think I’ll cover it again, but I need to get this out.
There has been a ton and a half written about this conflict, and I don’t intend on repeating stuff. What I want to talk about is empathy, and how the conflict is designed to rob people on both sides of it.
I have firsthand experience on one side of the propaganda machine and second hand experience to the other. From what I can tell, there’s no difference.
The thing about propaganda is that it isn’t the stuff in 400 point font letters plastered over every empty space in the country. That’s easy. The stuff that really makes a difference is so tiny and insidious you might not even notice it. How many times have I heard Palestinians called animals by pro-Israel supporters? How many times have I heard for calls to exterminate all of Israel as the only path to peace?
Do people really believe this nonsense?
You don’t shell people. You don’t deprive people of food and clean water and education. You don’t call for the death of a person. These are all things we do after we’ve stripped someone of their humanity.
So here’s why I think needs to happen to solve this humanitarian crisis.
How? It’s so simple, and so beyond the capacity of either side.
Israel. Have you considered that maybe treating people like shit drives people to extremism? Has it occurred to you that perhaps inherent in the word “extreme” is the suggestion that the reaction is uncommon? Perhaps rather than driving more people to that desperation by causing the death of more children and innocent people, you could try killing Palestinians with LOVE. Swarm them with education, social services, and agricultural services. Bomb them with access to food and free travel. Assault their land with deeds to areas they’re already in. I’ve seen the generosity and kindness you are capable of. Show the world you’re more than a satellite American military force for white colonization in the Middle East.
Palestine. Have you considered that maybe sending thousands of rockets at a country that is pretty well equipped to deal with them is going to get you literally no further than you are? While electing a government that has tried to improve your day to day lives, you must have understood that giving Hamas more power would, if nothing else, bring your intensions into disrepute. That it would be sending the message to the international community that you’re nothing better than a roving band of criminals and extremists, which you are absolutely not. Demand a government committed to real peace talks. Put out art, music, books – anything. Don’t just be a cause. Show the world that you are not just victims. You are people and deserve to be treated as such.
It is so incredibly easy to be swallowed up by hatred. I’ve been inside and have felt that hatred and anger myself, and it didn’t seem abnormal until I removed myself from the equation entirely. The normalization of this process of dehumanization is at the core of this conflict. Until they can set aside their differences and remember that they’re all just people, there is absolutely zero hope for peace.


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