Have you ever tried ignoring your neighbors in plot 10 who fight inside their house so you can hear the bangs, crashes and dunces on the walls? What of when you find them punching each other in the corridor, on the stairs and outside on the street? The parent in house 14b who beats their child up twice or thrice a week so you can hear the child’s fright, desperation and cries for help – have you been able to forget? Have you ever seen a murdered person outside plot 10 as you went to work in the morning or as you came home from work?
Did you then move on with your day and life without remembering the fights, the sounds and the dead body? That is how the bloodshed, crying Palestinian children, stunned adults and fire and smoke from airstrikes affect us. They stay in our minds disrupting our peace, stressing us psychologically and physiologically.
Even when we pretend to ignore Israel and Palestine and focus on local problems, our cognitive faculties cannot un-see or un-hear what we have seen and heard.
It doesn’t matter which side you are on. Neither does it matter whether your god has sanctioned the violence in a book written over 2000 years ago.
Global Collective Trauma
You can suppress your reaction so you seem neutral, but unless you are a psychopath you know something wrong is happening and it shouldn’t be happening. May be you have cognitive dissonance on which children should be dying: Israeli children or Palestinian children. Collective trauma is happening to all of us and it won’t leave us unchanged. Don’t forget to add local political strife, natural disasters, joblessness, famines, other wars around the world and the pandemic to our 2020-2021 traumas. Many of us are already suffering from PTS (Post Traumatic Stress) and anxiety.
The Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and the ensuing bloodshed has been in our news since I was born. It’s on radio, on TV, in the newspapers, in social media – everywhere. Even in church. I cannot ignore it no matter how hard I try. How can you?
This feels like those conflicts where you take a side and die on it. Since both the Israeli god and the Palestinian god seem to be violent gods, at the end of life, we shall all be judged by our gods based on what they deem important. But in our lifetime, this collective trauma is a part of our collective existence. And both the Israeli and Palestinian children’s destinies will always be overshadowed. limited and marred by the occupation.