War Should Not Be Normality
A few nights ago, I was having a conversation with my friend, Jim. Let me give you a little background on Jim and maybe you’ll see why our conversation was, well, perplexing…
Jim is in his early 60s, moved to Orlando from New York about a decade ago but Jim is not a native New Yorker. He was, in fact, born in Hungary. In the post World War II re-building time, his family fled Europe with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. While he wasn’t born until after the war and the horrors of the holocaust, Jim’s family (which is Jewish) wanted to leave the scars of the death camps behind. Hence, they headed west for the American dream…and they found it.
So, there’s his history. His today is a successful businessman and a voracious observer of current affairs. Politics, world events, the economy, if I want to know something that’s going on, I don’t flip on CNN-I ask Jim.
Yet, like we all do, Jim brings a bit of his own opinion to the table. With the whole Israeli/Gaza happenings as of late, I asked Jim’s opinions on what’s going on.
He said, “Well, today wasn’t a very good day. Hamass fired a rocket and when the Israelis returned fire, they hit a school being used as a shelter. I think about 35 people died.”
This is tough to relay. Not his words, but his tone. It was as if he were talking about a sick child who had a slight set back on the way to recovery. Nothing overly emotional, nothing too sad. Kinda like someone who had hip surgery and is told they’ll have to use the walker another week. Frustrating, but not at all devastating.
And yet? This kind of violence has accompanied Jim all his life. His grandmother lost several of her children in Auschwitz. Some of Jim’s earliest memories are of his grandmother just weeping and weeping for days on end. And throughout his lifetime, he’s watched the skirmishes, attacks and bombings involving Israel. I can’t say he treats it like an on-going soap opera, but his casual nature at word of dozens of people dying was disconcerting. And yet, when Israel, the center of the Jewish world, has been in constant conflict since it’s post World War 2 inception, it stands to reason de-sensitization would occur.
The rest of us (Gentiles, as Jim would playfully say) have never had to see our friends, relatives and those with whom we share a faith as attacked as Israel. And to that, I say…good. War should not be normal. An entire country should not have bombings, gun fire and war as an every day occurrence. People should not be so used to horrors and violence that the deaths of dozens are treated like someone breaking a dinner date due to illness.
This interaction just makes me sad. I hate that people have to live with an on-going threat of violence. I hate that more people in the world aren’t as lucky as we Americans who get to walk down the block without fear of being fired upon. And more than anything, it just makes me feel lucky.