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Devaluing the Complexity of the Middle East Conflict

Ramzy Baroud

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The Middle East conflict, exemplified in its most enduring phase, that of the Palestinian-Israeli struggle, is commonly accepted to be “complex”. Undoubtedly, although the complexity in my mind has more to do with the deliberately fraudulent representation of the conflict?s nature, enormity and projected solution, rather than in the blurriness of its origins or the identity of its architects. However, one of the most palpable signs of this perceived complexity is our incapacity to determine the level of our involvement in the conflict, and therefore our powerlessness in bringing it to a halt.

Some moral questions are easy to answer. Israeli soldiers pose for a photo over the dead body of a Palestinian.

Some moral questions are easy to answer. Israeli soldiers pose for a photo over the dead body of a Palestinian.

This is not a history lesson; thus, there won?t be a need to examine or re-examine the sinister role played out by certain world powers, a role that in many aspects invented the conflict, or to say the least, fashioned it to serve their imperial interests in the region. But one can hardly circumvent from divulging the most obvious fact of all, that while imperial agendas and “great games” invented and fuelled the conflict, apathy and silence forced its continuation, at the expense of innocent victims, the causalities of bombs and indifference, the collateral damage of unsound policies, championed by unsound leaders.

There is certainly enough blame to go around, enough to break out from its traditional pivot in the Western hemisphere to reach every Arab capital, every devious lobby group, business interest, ideological fanatic, impotent UN resolutions, innumerable USA vetoes, failed leaderships and hidden racist tendencies that coerce us into believing that the victim alone, due to his purported religious, racial inferiorities, deserves to be reprimanded, crucified even.

But in spite of the seeming lucidity of this comprehension at times, we must not quit reminding ourselves of its injustices, so that we can draw from it a greater portrait of suffering and struggle, large enough to encompass the struggles of all nations at various stages of history. How else can we embrace the struggle of every nation that fought, virtuously, and either perished or attained its freedom? Suddenly, the exclusivity of the distant Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not as remote; it?s a replica of sorrowful, albeit valiant destinies that many nations endured - the Aboriginals of Australia are often censured and blamed for their own plight and degradation. Their land was an “empty land”, and unlike the “chosen ones”, they were merely subhuman. Palestinians are not alone in this, they never were.

A Palestinian woman retrieves belongings from her house after it was demolished by Israeli occupiers during a recent raid in southern Gaza.

A Palestinian woman retrieves belongings from her house after it was demolished by Israeli occupiers during a recent raid in southern Gaza.

But while we are capable of taking the time to articulate our perception of this conflict, or disapprove of someone else?s articulation, there is no denial that a more urgent issue must be addressed: in Palestine, there are parents incapable of providing for their own families, not due to indolence or lack of skills, but because of closures, endless curfews and human-imposed poverty; there are children malnourished, winter, unkindly crashing in with all of its might without regard for a family sheltered in a tattered tent because their home has been unfairly demolished. We can certainly ignore that such a reality exists, yet continue to debate whose the bearer of responsibility for the grinding “cycle of violence”, as if we are not at all involved in the conflict, if not directly, at least through our ability to help a child endure less painfully, until the day comes where the “international community” collects its moral courage and puts a stop to the onslaught.

Thanks to the Internet and other impressive means to communication, we are no longer able to shelter our conscience with the “there is nothing I can do” reasoning; and thanks to spirited organizations like KinderUSA, one can rest assured that helping a child can exceed the efficacy of a prayer, although of essence, into a direct subsidy.

When the Palestine Chronicle joined KinderUSA in a Ramadan project, “Project Humanity: Sending Love and Relief to Children in Palestine”, it was not the result of our failure to adhere to the objectivity of journalism. We simply asserted our humanity and opened the stage for others to proclaim theirs. Intellectual and media examinations can go on forever, yet certain realities, so critical and fatal must be addressed without delay. Yes, a large percentage of Palestinian children are malnourished, and you, the individual, can ease their suffering, and drastically reverse the direction of their uncertain destiny.

We must realize the importance of our role as individuals in this conflict, and act upon that critical realization. Our understanding of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, whether as a complex subject or otherwise, doesn?t have to remain bound to its textual presentation. We ought to decode that understanding into a more tangible involvement, on the ground, or through financially contributing to respected organizations like KinderUSA. I urge you to take the time to read the information below, visit the website and act upon your belief. You are not as irrelevant to this conflict as you might think. You can bring a smile to a face of a troubled Palestinian child. This alone ought to be an adequate realization to make us concede that this enduring conflict might not be as “complex” as one might imagine.

Published Wednesday, November 5th, 2003 - 01:56pm GMT

Article courtesy of the Palestine Chronicle

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