What is saddest about conflict is that people have to experience it. It’s not just that there is a risk that they will be injured or killed (that is of course bad enough), but that an experience bad enough can change anyone.
An acquaintance, a current Facebook friend I met through a past job, is a yoga teacher from Brooklyn who is currently living in Israel, temporarily, I think. She had an eating disorder and grew up in a fairly restrictive environment, and she volunteers as a yoga teacher in her free time to provide yoga to trauma survivors, including young people. She’s vegan. She posts on Facebook the pleas of animal rescue organizations trying to help pit bulls.
She seems to be filled with anger and fear about what is going on, and I can’t say I blame her. She’s in some kind of bomb shelter – albeit with electricity, a government-issued gas mask, and Internet – but there are people lobbing rockets who would like to kill her. Because of her religious background and affiliation with Israel. Anyone in her shoes would feel anxious about this all.
It does not escape my notice that there are others, on the “other side”, who don’t have such a functional government to give them gas masks, and who probably cannot be posting on Facebook about their struggle, because they lack electricity and money for laptops. They don’t just face fear, they face death.
And it’s all extremely sad. It’s sad because I believe that the vast majority of people affected by all this just want to go about their lives and not have to worry about being killed or injured. They might not be active proponents of the various peace processes, but they would be happier if the conflict just ended. It’s sad because there are *assholes* on each “side” who benefit in some way from keeping all of this going. And it’s sad because normal, kind people wrapped up in this end up feeling such awful animosity towards other people. They are good people. They don’t want this feeling.
I have never personally been in such a life and death sort of situation. I spent three years teaching English in a country where many people had faced that (I was there years after the conflict finished). This may contribute to my perspective.