My thoughts on the world around me

Israeli Missile Attacks on Gaza

This video gives a sense of the horrors currently transpiring in Gaza (WARNING: some images may be too disturbing for some viewers):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The most shocking image for me was the Palestinian policeman, presumably praying as he met his end. Watching him, I was reminded of two things: José Martí ‘s poem, “Cultivo una Rosa Blanca,” and the final scene in the film, “All Quiet on the Western Front (1930).”

In the poem, José Martí writes, “Cultivo una rosa blanca…para el amigo sincero que me da su mano franca. Y para el cruel que me arranca el corazón con que vivo…cultivo la rosa blanca.” Martí’s message is that one should cultivate a white rose, a symbol of purity and innocence, for both friend and foe. Martí, a prominent thinker during Cuba’s war for independence from Spain, was instructing his readers to love, not hate. The poem calls for us to embrace, rather than kill, the enemy.

The ending of “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930) is a cinematic classic:

In the film’s final scene, the soldier is killed as he reaches to touch a butterfly. That image has stuck with me. The soldier, weary and solemn, found beauty on the battlefield. In that moment, he forgot about the hell he was living in. He was in a trance pursuing something pure. In reaching for the butterfly, the soldier’s heart beat louder than any gunshot. In that moment, just for that moment, he was human again.

I don’t have an answer for the Middle East crisis generally, or the Israel-Palestine conflict specifically. I don’t know if Israel’s response (Israeli bombs have killed 270+ Palestinians, mostly militants) was proportional to the Palestinian militant aggression (300+ rockets fired into Israel in the past week). On this matter, I am truly impotent.

I can, however, provide a few words in favor of peace. This is my message to those in Gaza, Israel, and any other war-torn territory:

God, watch over them. Watch over their families and their people. Let them know that violence inevitably leads to more pain. Teach them that love for the enemy, while difficult and seemingly unnatural, may be the only solution to keeping their skies blue and not gray with smoke. Guide the soldiers away from the war zone and back into their homes. Heal the wounded and soothe the broken-spirited. Let rain, not warplanes, fall from the sky to wash away the blood, tears, and soot. Allow words, not guns, to determine the outcome.

Shalom Aleichem (Hebrew for “peace be upon you”).

Wa Aleykum As-Salaam (Arabic for “and upon you be peace”).


December 28, 2008 - Posted by | Politics | , , , , ,


  1. Tu sabiduria va mas alla de tu edad.
    Ojala el mensaje de paz que trasmites con tanta inocencia llegue de alguna manera a todos esos soldados.
    May peace be with you too.

    Comment by amc | December 28, 2008 | Reply

  2. There is always a place for a call for peace, and I am glad to see here too –very well written, with passion and compassion. There must also be words in Hebrew and Arabic for the coward silence of indifferent witnesses for which this proxy war is not theirs. One can only hope that change can also starts with hope. Wishing for a year of true change has never been so fundamental. Meanwhile God just watch, just watch.

    Comment by GR | December 28, 2008 | Reply

  3. As discussed on NPR this morning, there is no military solution to the Palestinian-Israel issue. Engaging Syria and Iran is key to find a political permanent solution, and this should be something Obama must act soon. Designating Collin Powell as a Special Envoy with a long-term commitment would facilitate the new Secretary of State Hillary Clinton –besides, I am not sure she has the credentials to be impartial on this particular issue. US’ foreign policy needs a new attitude toward Israel, with the understanding of the relevance of the US-Israel strategic relationship but without compromising its position to bring sanctions to Israel if necessary.

    Comment by GR | December 29, 2008 | Reply

  4. It is going to be 22 painful days until the Bush Administration let the door hit their asses. Meanwhile, the current President decided not to interrupt his holiday vacation! The worst US President ever!

    Comment by GR | December 29, 2008 | Reply

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