Empathy: the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else’s feelings.
But what if you don’t want to share someone else’s experience and feelings of hardship? What if it is just too fucking hard? Thinking let alone writing this most probably makes me a rubbish human being. But maybe I can still earn a modicum of cred for keeping it real? Maybe not…
There are reports that the third intifada is breaking out in Israel and Palestine as I write. For seven years I have lived in northern Israel, and for seven years I have protected my sensitive heart and soul by being staunchly apolitical and maintaining a firm ignorance of what was being projected by major news agencies. It’s not that I don’t care. I do care. I care so fucking much that it destroys my heart to see people living in squalor, grasping at straws in an attempt to provide for themselves and their families, and at times being maimed or killed in the process. To see the lifeless bodies of children, of babies, with their parents screaming at the fucking injustice of reality.
The empathetic part of me demands that I recognize this suffering, if only to bear witness to it. The emotional part of me tells me that I cannot handle these agonies and that I had best look away. My cowardice most often wins in this battle of conscience.
The fear is real. Terrorism is very effective in this way.
The suffering is real. Knives and bullets, stones and rockets are very effective in this way.
The people are real. All of the people.
So I ventured into the news today, and was broken.
Often when I’m looking for information on current issues or news items, I turn to Twitter for a more on-the-ground, grassroots perspective.
Did a search for #intifada.
The mechanations of fear, hate and violence appeared on the feed before my very eyes.
Jihadist call to arms.
Videos of mayhem and destruction.
Dead fucking children.
Dead. Fucking. Children.
…Heart dashed to pieces…
Decided through my tears that I am too sensitive a soul for this shit.
If anyone needs me I’ll just be over here with my head in the goddamned sand, waiting for someone to press the restart button. Because from this vantage point, “peace” is a laughable non-option and as a concept carries as much weight as a bumper sticker slogan.
Meaningful movement towards any solution not based in war, terrorism and violence seems absolutely impossible. People only get more and more fearful, vengeful and distrustful as it is revealed time and time again how insecure life is here.
Today was a hard day.
I hold out hope that tomorrow will be better.
You’ll excuse me if I don’t hold my breath while we wait and see though.