What will you do if we assume risks and sacrifice victims and put our trust in you – and then something goes wrong?
“What if the other side does not act as it is expected to, and instead hurls at us fire and plagues and poisons and possibly even nuclear weapons?
“What will you do then? Will you ask for forgiveness? Will you say ‘we were wrong’? Will you send us bandages? Will you open orphanages for the children who survived? Will you pray for our souls?”
Powerful persuasive words from Israel’s most recent rising politician. Imagine a family in Gaza who lost their children and entire neighborhood in 2008 giving the exact same speech, using exactly these words. Why should they not use these words?
Ok, now what? After all the emotions, if you want something more in life than a never ending cycle of revenge, you might want to ask, “Now what?” He caricatures compromise as only a manipulative politician would. And that is our curse on this planet today. We have achieved monumental things across the planet, every culture, but we are plagued by manipulative politicians who build their careers on terror, stimulating its emotions and imposing terror on others. And we must resist this. We must resist with every use of our reason and our creativity and our hearts that God or the universe has given us, and that has aided our ancestors so many times in the last few hundred years to fight for democracy, for basic freedoms, for the achievements of human rights and the valuation of every human life. We can do this, but the road is long and hard, and the supply of unscrupulous parasitical politicians endless in every single culture and region. It is a part of the human condition, not a unique problem in Syria or Israel or Iran or South Carolina. It is a stark choice in every breast at every breathing moment between reason and terror, between introspection and hate, between self-examination and scapegoating, between empathy and tyranny, between cautious and shared coexistence and genocidal fantasy and practice. All the great wisdom traditions and all the great scientific minds of the past have laid out the choices very clearly, and we need to study and practice as if each one of us were entirely responsible for the fate of the earth.© Marc Gopin