Casual Warfare

If there is one thing that people who live in stable countries don’t understand, it’s how casually a country can slip in and out of war. Perhaps I’m being unfair though – perhaps it is only this odd country, a so-called “Holy Land,” that acts this way. This place, Israel, Palestine, The Land Where Jesus Walked – whatever you want to call it, it has been, and apparently forever will be, a battleground.

It is an extremely odd feeling to realize how casually and nonchalantly we accept the state of warfare and the murderous activities that suddenly flare up around us here. The most people seem to be doing is starting different Facebook groups, so now my inbox there is filled with invitations like: “Join the ‘Boycott all Israeli Arabs!’ group,” “Join the ‘I agree with Israel invading Gazza’ group,” and “Join the ‘Everyone change their profile pictures to the Israeli flag!’ group.”

It’s horrid. It’s horrible. It’s, most of all, weird. It’s not normal to sit at work and hear people getting phone calls about rockets landing in their cities of residence and not to have that bother you particularly. It’s not normal to see people joking on the inter-office emails about how they hope they won’t get blown up on their rides home. It’s not normal to need to wish your coworker to feel better when she leaves work early because of a cold and to tell her in the same breath to be careful and not to leave the house too much.

Every time this country slips casually into war, almost without my noticing, I feel that humankind must be insane.

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8 thoughts on “Casual Warfare

  1. michaelghaile says:

    I have to agree that is most certainly not normal. I hear you point, and remember that tone from some of my friends here in the US. So, I ask you the same question I asked them. What would be normal for the average Israeli and normal to the rest of us? Where can we start accepting the place for what it is, a battle ground, a holy land, or all?

  2. What does that say to us as human beings when war becomes “normal” or “commonplace?” If you EVER need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask me.

  3. @michaelghaile – I don’t quite understand your question. If you’re asking what’s normal here, well, this is a first-world country in many ways. Nothing here is very different than the US, especially as so much here is very Americanized. However, the issue of the military and war here are completely different, and the perspective is miles apart.

    @Joy – I know, it’s horrible, that’s my point… How can we accept this as normal? And yet, it is. It just becomes that way. You don’t even realize how weird it is until you think about it for a moment. Thank you so much for the offer, my eyes rather welled up at that… I’m in a safe area, quite far from any danger, so don’t worry :).

  4. I had this same conversation with my brother the other day. He’d just had a work colleague die in an accident and was devastated. His own depth of grief surprised him. We talked about how much it hurts to lose people we know – and how the shrinking of the world into a global community has brought so many more emotionally challenging events into our lives. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – it’s just different.

    Seventy years ago my grandparents were only aware of the issues in their small Australian town – news from the city even took time to reach them. News from the other side of the world was at least 6 weeks old by the time it reached their ears. Nowadays, we turn on the news and are bombarded with famine, natural disasters, acts of terror, war and suffering from every corner of the globe the instant they occur.

    I believe one of the main reasons for indifference is ‘compassion fatigue’. There is so much going on that if we were to get emotionally involved in everything that was wrong in the world we would simply not be able to function. We would be so overwhelmed with grief we would not be able to even do the simple things. Instead, we casually flick channels and ‘save’ our grief for something closer to home. But that doesn’t excuse our lack of compassion. I’m a Christian, and I believe I have an obligation to be emotionally invested in human suffering of any kind. It’s just finding a way to deal with the avalanche that’s the problem…

  5. I’d just like to clarify that my main point was that less than two generations ago people dealt with loss and grief and pain in their own communities – and felt each and every heartache deeply. Now, we have a world of grief and pain and tend to skim over most of it.

  6. Of course it’s normal. It has to be. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to go on with your life. The fact that you could blow up in a bus any day is just as normal as the fact that you could be hit by a bus any day. We humans make our circumstances normal because we have to. We wouldn’t be able to live if we had to gasp and grieve for every single horrible thing that happens, and being afraid it might happen to us. Besides taking precautions, there’s really no escape. You could be super careful on the street every day to make sure you’re not hit by a bus and still catch an unexpected non related heart attack. Everything can happen. Everything might happen. No matter the cirmustances we live in.
    It’s normal to make things normal.

  7. Orin says:

    See, I don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad that these days I’m practiculary glued to the news all day long (for my work). It’s kinda driving me insane, but it’s also making me take it more seriously- not casually.

    BUT, such is the case in a time of war. When rockets are a casual thing, you have to take it casually to keep sane.

    And I Ignore all of those Facebook group invitations…

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