Sunday, August 3, 2014

Casualty of War: Patience to Hear the Other Side

I have a young Facebook friend. I won't mention where she's from, but like me, she is an author, struggling to establish herself in the vast world of publishing in efforts to market her book. And like me, she had been willing to reach out and connect with a resident of a distant country, despite the vast differences between us in age, religion, gender, and nationality.

Today, I informed this Facebook friend that I need to disconnect from her for awhile. This is because she asked me if I was sad about the genocide in Gaza. And she also sent me horrific images of dead children, declaring there could be no justification, whatsoever, for the massacres taking place there on a daily basis. (Her words.) When I sent her an article written by an author from her country, stating that there were two sides to the current conflict, she refused to hear my side, the Israeli side.

I did not un-friend my author friend, as others might have, but clearly, there is a failure to communicate here.

I don't blame my friend from afar - she is exposed to media that is openly hostile to Israel. I also understand similar anti-Israel statements coming from contacts in Scotland, Ireland, Turkey, and even the United States, who only hear and accept the Palestinian side. But still, this bothers me.

Let me make something clear. I am absolutely abhorred by the loss of so many innocent Palestinian lives, a good percentage of them women and children. There is a war going on, and innocent lives are being lost. As an Israeli, I am upset at what is happening to the Palestinians, but their supporters are not upset at all about what is happening to us in Israel.

There is a lot more I could say, and that I have already said, about who is responsible for the bloodshed, and why this war, no matter how bloody and painful it may be, is supported by the majority of Israelis. I won't repeat these arguments here, because, in the case of my Facebook friend and others, they would just fall on deaf ears.

I have already written how the war is draining my creativity, affecting my ability to write and to edit. The sirens alerting me to incoming rockets interrupt my daily life and the solemn announcements of casualties strike me like a kick in the gut. One of my contacts belittled my feelings, wondering how I could bemoan a loss of creativity when lives were being lost. I had just been honest, stating how I personally was affected.

The violence has rattled my nerves. I am less patient, less forgiving, more liable to react strongly to disturbing posts and tweets. Yes, I admit it. The conflict has made me less patient to hear the Palestinian side as well. However, I do empathize with their pain, and I truly have done my best to understand them. Unfortunately, their refusal to understand what I feel and believe is very painful, and only demonstrates how deep their hatred is toward the country in which I live.

I still believe in the possibility of peace. In order to achieve that goal, there must be acceptance of the fact that there are two sides of the story. To bring an end to the violence, and to ensure a lasting peace, both sides will have to step back from their belligerent stances and make huge compromises in a process of real, honest negotiations.

In this war, no one is winning.

See also:

War Drains Your Creativity

Where I Stand on the War in Gaza

Driving Through Gaza City at Midnight

Yesterday Evening, Hamas Fired Rockets at My House


  1. Ellis, an honest and fair post.

    I wish you and your people well in these difficult and stressful times. It was only through educating myself that I understood the deep roots of this bitterness,long before '48.

    Few in Europe or America are aware of the loss of life before Israel was founded, the women and children murdered in Arab lands for wanting to be Jewish.That's not even to mention the monstrous crime in Europe.

    I know one thing for sure, if Irish people, Scottish people or any other suffered in that way, they too would stand and fight with every breath they had to hold a ground that they could call home.

    I wish you and your people well and still I hope for peace, from your friend in Ireland.

  2. "In order to achieve that goal, there must be acceptance of the fact that there are two sides of the story. To bring an end to the violence, and to ensure a lasting peace, both sides will have to step back from their belligerent stances and make huge compromises in a process of real, honest negotiations."

    Well said. How do we encourage this thought process?

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  4. As a way to encourage your creativity, I compare the ending of "Valley of the Thracian's" that takes place at the Kazanlak Tomb, to Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum," that takes place at the Musee des Arts et Metiers. Your choice of setting is superb, as is your creativity.

  5. (Apologies if this is a double post, my original seems to have disappeared when I clicked 'Preview')
    Ellis, although I'm brand new to your site, I already admire your patience and forbearance with the willfully ignorant girl you mentioned in your post.

    There is plenty of information available to verify or debunk the toxic pablum being spoonfed to the public, so I don't accept any excuses for insulting the memories of the millions of people who were actual victims of genocide.

    If enough people stood up and spoke out in 1926, we might not have to discuss this today. But now that we do, I for one will not be quiet about it.

    This girl and people like her are the personification of the term 'banality of evil'. She does not represent the mainstream.

  6. Ellis, this is such an objective post from where you are sitting. I would not be so gracious. I pray God protects you and your creativity returns when peace is achieved. People are incredibly insensitive to others' feelings. As a Christian I support wholeheartedly Israel in any conflict. As an American it infuriates me when my country fails to do so. Thanks for the post. It fell on a few listening ears. "For the LORD is our defense, and the Holy One of Israel is our king." Psalm 89:18 ~Joyce (Twitter @Godsfiningfire)

  7. Excellent post, Ellis.
    The media is not - and has never been recently, imo - at Israel's side, which is more endangering to peace. An impartial media would be much more helping.

    I'm also sorry lives are being lost.
    It doesn't matter what side is losing or winning, in a war there is so much suffering from both sides.

    As @TroyDuran commented so well, Hannah Arendt had already showed us that the thoughtless of the daily acts are the banality of evil.
    And this is what people doesn't care to see is: the Hamas is the worst proof of radicalism and it will help no one - no even the Palestinians - to follow their instructions without thinking, without questioning the reasons for those orders.

    My thoughts and prayers go to Israel, Israelis and the naïve Palestinians, who think that staying in the place of a bombing to be killed is the best way to bring peace to a place already so drenched in hatred fuel - or to go to Heaven...

    Take care. Peace be with you.