For the people in Gaza it was a war that threatened to destroy life in a split second or slow agony. For the rest of us it was a war of words and images; a testing ground that showed us where friends and nations stood. We will never forgive some of these, just as those who have been maimed or traumatized by falling bombs may never forgive those who have launched them.
I cannot speak of the pain of the victim – it is unintelligible to me. I can only speak of my own, lesser pain – that of being able to do nothing while the dealers in death are having their market day. Of living among people made blind by what? By hatred, paranoia or indifference? I don't even fully understand what lies behind it. My assumption is that the motivation really isn't any of these, but a kind of mass psychosis that affects people in times of war. Perhaps those of us who are not so affected have no right to judge those who have been. After all, the roots must be in human qualities that we all share and if conditions had been a little different, it might have caught us too. There are other kinds of mass hypnosis affecting all of us, some of the time. It just happens that war fever is one of the worst.
With all of that, there are some people who are not actually taken over and occupied by the national spirit. They just quietly succumb to it, or retreat into themselves, asking to be woken up when it's over. The Middle East is mad againe – nothing to do about it.
But there are no private havens and no way that our spirits cannot be affected by war. It is inside and outside. When people are dying, a part of us is being killed; a part of us is doing the killing. Hey, this is crazy talk! No wonder they gave me my exemption.