Tag Archive for: war

I have so many sad thoughts running through my brain after
yesterday’s attack on a military school in Peshawar, Pakistan. Most of them are
surface thoughts, mourning for the loss of life and the feeling of fear that
must be in the air for families, for children going to school, for teachers who
put their lives in danger by just going to work. The deeper thoughts run to the
absurdity of war, of “conflict,” of targeted attacks and drones and the ongoing
back-and-forth in so many parts of the world.
“We want them to feel our pain,” said one Taliban commander
as a justification for the attack.
Well of course you do. Regardless of your politics or
religious beliefs, you are human and you feel pain. And the relentless attacks
on North Waziristan have most likely caused much collateral damage.
Instead of contemplating that statement (which I only heard
on one news outlet one time despite the nearly constant coverage of this
incident), the Pakistani government – no doubt with a significant amount of
support from our country – retaliated almost immediately, sending air strikes
to Taliban strongholds.
Rather than answering for the innocent women and children
they have killed and the “tens of thousands” they have displaced, the Pakistan
military decided to take it up a notch.
Let me be clear. Nobody is right here. This continued
escalation of violence with no nod whatsoever to the loss of life, the
impotence of the entire endeavor, the impossibility of the stated goal
(Pakistani Prime Minister has said that they will keep fighting until
“terrorism is rooted from our land”) can only serve to further entrench both
sides. There is no weapon that can secure peace. I know that there is no simple
solution, but I do know that this is no solution at all. It feels to me like
two teenage boys punching each other in the arm.
“Take that!”
“Oh, yeah? Well I can punch harder than that. Take that!”
“That’s nothing. Here, how does that feel?”
Eventually, one of them will get tired of the one-upmanship or
too hurt to go on, but if they’re mad enough, they might come back with a
different weapon later on. And what has been proven? The one with the most
might is not necessarily the one who is right.  Continued escalation of violence, state-sanctioned or not,
falls under the definition of insanity as far as I’m concerned. How long will
we continue to take this same approach to no avail before we acknowledge that
it isn’t working? And how many more people have to die during the learning
curve? War is a failure of imagination, of creativity, of willingness to find
other solutions. We can’t lose much more by stopping the violent attacks and
trying something else than we already are by escalating things.

In the meantime, I will continue to breathe in suffering and
breathe out compassion. I will feel their pain, the suffering on all sides of
this issue. Someone has to.

I am reading my first book by bell hooks. I have read quotes of hers before and come across people who think she is absolutely brilliant and yet, I have never once picked up a book by her. Until now. And to be honest, I don’t even really remember what made me pick up “All About Love: New Visions,” but it is quickly becoming a tome to set next to the likes of David Whyte’s “The Three Marriages” and anything by Brene Brown to read over and over again.  I have taken so many pages of notes I’m running out of space in my notebook and I am only about 70% of the way through it.

hooks’ meditations on every kind of love from friendships to family to intimate, romantic relationships to self-love are so simple and profound that I am stunned again and again. And, as I often do, I find myself stopping mid-page to muse about the ways in which her philosophy pertains to different aspects of my life and pop culture.  The fact that her thoughts feel so incredibly universal to me is one reason why I suspect I will be able to read this book many times and find some new perspective during each and every reading.

She begins by defining love in a way I’ve never heard it spoken about before and, yet, it feels absolutely right to me.  She uses M. Scott Peck’s definition, the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth, as a springboard, and adds, “To truly love we must learn to mix various ingredients – care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication.”

She has chapters on every imaginable application of love but in light of what is happening in the Middle East right now, I am particularly struck by her chapters on community and what she calls a “love ethic.”

I have been called hopelessly idealistic and a dreamer most of my life. I own it. And so, in that spirit, I began thinking about what the world would look like if we embraced the notion of a love ethic, cultures rooted in mutual respect and acknowledgment instead of materialism and consumerism and money and power.  In this kind of society, it would be absolutely necessary to address our fears and take daily leaps of faith. In this kind of society, we would be required to forego the possibility of having everything we want in order for everyone to have some of what they want.  In our current model, we are encouraged to think constantly about what we as individuals want which sets up this endless cycle of desiring and attaining and assessing and desiring more. We are always comparing what we have with what we don’t have, what we have with what others have, and we will always come up short. In our current model, where possessions equal success equal power, we are tricked into thinking that more stuff will make us happier and we dehumanize other people who get in the way of us having more stuff.

When I think about the daily violence happening in Gaza and Syria, I see a cycle of fear and entitlement. I see groups of people desperate to have exactly what they think they need and willing to go to any length to get it.  I see militaries who have embraced the power of fear to make others do what you want them to do and one of the big problems with that is that, while fear is a terrific motivator, it is only ever a temporary one.  And fear doesn’t allow you to have relationship with others, so if you’re intent on controlling them for long, you either have to continue to ratchet up the fear factor or you have to worry about their retaliation. (Of course, one other solution is to entirely eradicate the “other” so that you don’t have to consider being in relationship at all.)

In hooks’ love ethic, everyone has the right to be free, to live fully and to live well.  Everyone expresses themselves honestly and openly and with a view toward living their ethic in everything they do and, in doing so, they are investing in their own individual growth and the growth and happiness of everyone else.  Individuals in these kinds of communities recognize the humanity of the other individuals at every turn even if they don’t agree with them. In acknowledging the humanity of others, there is no desire to “win” or rule over another, there is only a concern for the good of all and the acceptance that nobody can ever have all that they want because that is not good for the community.

The irony in the present situation in the Middle East is that everyone’s actions are rooted in fear, even as they are doing their mightiest to instill terror in the hearts of their opponents. And when we act out of fear, we cannot hope to accomplish anything but inciting more fear and anger. This cycle is endlessly destructive and while we may gain momentary feelings of righteousness as we claim small victories, we
have not made any lasting, sustainable efforts toward peace.

In the case of the violence in the Middle East, Benjamin Netanyahu has been very clear that the goal of attacking Gaza is to shut down the tunnels that Hamas has built from Gaza into Israel’s territory. They are afraid and, goodness’ knows I don’t fault them for that. Their fears are justified, given the violence Hamas has rained down upon Israel thanks to the tunnels. But in disproportionately attacking the civilians in Gaza, what Israel is doing is showing that they can instill fear in Hamas, that they can be scarier than their enemy in hopes of what – convincing them that Israel is mightier and they ought to just give up? Even if Hamas did concede that point for now, if they ever hope to get any power again, they will have to invent some way to be even more frightening in the future. And the Palestinians are not likely to ever forget the horrific numbers of innocent civilians who fell prey to Netanyahu’s military which means that the prospects for a peaceful solution are even farther away than they were before.

There will always be someone who will come along and threaten to take what you have – your feeling of security, your home and possessions, your family. And we can set up fences, locks, alarm systems, but as long as we are operating from a place of fear, we are focused on what we might lose instead of what we already have, what is most important. If we can learn to retreat to a place of “enough” instead of continually visiting the well of “I need/deserve more,” we won’t feel threatened by others and worried that they will take what is or might one day be “ours.” And if we can build communities based on everyone taking the courageous, incredibly difficult step of extending a hand and trusting in each others’ humanity, we might just begin to find solutions that are rooted in love one day.

Sometimes the strangest stories get stuck in my head, back somewhere half-buried in the sand with just a glint of shimmer peeking out to catch my eye (thoughts) a few times a day.

Sometimes when I am listening to a friend talk, I feel a deeper sense of knowing, or at least the potential to find a deeper understanding, and that feeling echoes throughout my days and nights until I’m ready to haul it out from the sand and give it a once-over.

Yesterday I sat and had a fully impromptu cup of coffee with a dear, lovely friend and we caught up a little bit, talking of things important and not so important.  She told me a funny story that sat with me until this morning when I finally realized why it was resonating.

Over the past few weeks, J has been cleaning out her attic, purging boxes and old documents and hauling things to the thrift store that she no longer needs.  Among other things, one item she decided to get rid of was an old stool of her daughter’s. It was a mushroom-style stool that her mother had given to her daughter to use with her vanity table – a table that has long since been sold or given away, but the stool remained.  It was unique and presumably in good condition and probably had some sentimental value, but J took it to the thrift store in town along with a load of other things.

A few days or a week later, J got an email from her mother with a link to a listing for a stool just like that one on Craigslist.  Vintage, 1960s mushroom stool for sale. $45

“See?” her mother wrote, “You could sell that stool! Here’s one just like it.”

J laughed out loud.  That WAS her daughter’s stool. The same one she had dropped off at the thrift store. She examined the photo on the listing and determined that someone must have bought the stool cheaply, recognized it for what it was, and decided to make a little cash off of it.

As she told me that story, I thought of my dad for some reason, and how furious he would be at the missed opportunity to make some money off of an item. How angry he would have been that someone else was selling something that had been his, that he could have had that $45.  I marveled at J’s easy laughter, at her complete lack of frustration, even as I knew I would have felt the same as her. Imagining the time spent photographing the stool, creating the listing, entertaining emails and phone calls from interested buyers, and waiting at home for someone to come pick it up, I tried to gauge what my time was worth and where the tipping point would have been. $50? $100? In the end, I gave a mental nod to the cleverness of the person who saw the stool in the thrift store and recognized it as something special and made some money off of it.

I have always resisted writing or speaking about my thoughts on the conflict in the Middle East, mostly because I don’t feel as though I have any right to do so, given my lack of knowledge.  I have read articles and some history on the Palestine-Israel, Gaza Strip issues and have a rudimentary grasp of the players and their beliefs, but I don’t feel as though I truly have a grasp of the deepest issues and the raw wounds and I am loathe to offend anyone with what will most likely be a superficial assessment of the continuously erupting wars in that part of the world.

That said, there is a part of me that feels as though the most superficial (perhaps basic is a better word) treatment is the most accurate.  These are human beings, killing each other and each other’s children, afflicted with a sense of scarcity and fear that causes them to continue killing in some effort to gain more.  More of what is, in my mind, beside the point. In any war or armed conflict, there is a basic underlying assumption that someone else has what I want, or what I believe is rightfully mine. There is a belief that I deserve or own something and that the only way to get it is to prove my physical (or military) superiority.  Grief is not a big enough word for what I feel when I read about the loss of life on a daily basis in Gaza and the Ukraine and parts of Africa.  We are killing each other for things. We have become seduced by the notion that we can not only have more, but we deserve more, and that it is perfectly okay to go in and take more by whatever means necessary.  We have succumbed to the notion that what we have is not enough, or that even if it is enough, that we are entitled to something more. We are teaching our children that power and property are more important than love and life and community and cooperation.  We dehumanize each other by putting each other into groups based on skin color or ethnicity or religion or gender so that we can more easily justify going after what we are so afraid to not have, as if it will give us peace and happiness.

J could have been bitter and angry that she “lost out” on the money she could have made by selling that stool, but she didn’t fall prey to the myth of scarcity.  She recognized that what she has is enough and was pleased to simply be lighter thanks to having given the stool away.  I recognize that the stool is not the same as the Gaza Strip or the Ukraine, that there are much more complicated issues and beliefs associated with these conflicts and I do not mean to demean them in any way. My heart is heavy when I think about what it will take to stop the bloodshed, even for a little while, and heavier still when I imagine the scars this round of killing has inflicted on the families of the dead.  I absolutely believe that our best shot at stemming the tide of violence is to ask ourselves who we are willing to kill or maim in order to get a strip of land, to see the faces of those individuals being bombed and shot, see them with their families and friends, hear their voices, acknowledge their humanity alongside our own family and friends, and assess what we already have to see whether it is enough. To ask ourselves whether it is worth taking the life of another person to get a little bit more, or for the purpose of making some point or other, asserting our “rights.” Can we instead make do with what we have?

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales pled guilty last week to killing 16 innocent Afghan villagers in March of last year in order to avoid the death penalty.  He is a young man with two small children of his own who now faces the rest of his life behind bars.

May he one day find peace.

This is a young man who went to Iraq three times for the military and was on his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan, likely spending his waking hours plagued with fears of IEDs and surprise attacks.  I don’t know the details of his service and I certainly cannot justify the targeting of innocent people or their brutal murders.

What I do wonder is how many other angry, frightened soldiers are out there held together with spit and baling wire (as my grandfather used to say), barely holding on to some semblance of sanity? How many others are there who have both witnessed and committed atrocities on the orders of their superior officers whose dreams are haunted? How many others are self-medicating with alcohol and valium, simply clinging to those muted moments until they can try to figure out what a peaceful life is again?  And how can we continue to send these young people into harm’s way, revere them as heroes and then discard them on the streets of our cities after denying them the health care they need? How can we continue to be horrified at their acts of desperation and then send them away, sentenced to mental hospitals or jail cells simply because they couldn’t handle the burdens we placed on their shoulders?

If this isn’t a case for restorative justice (and pacifism), I don’t know what is.  So many lives lost and shattered in this instance, and even today, it is old news, as the headlines move on to conflict in other parts of the world. Ahh, Syria. Is that where our soldiers go next? To kill and be killed? To go slowly mad at the violence and pain of it all?

I don’t claim to have diplomatic answers to any of these conflicts. I certainly don’t condone the targeting of innocents by the Syrian government or the Turkish government or any other entity, for that matter. But I think we have seen time and again that war doesn’t do much but create victims on both sides for generations to come.

May he one day find peace.
May we all.

Photo of my father as a baby sitting with his father and mother.

It’s Memorial Day and I’m thinking about my dad. He died several years ago on May 2, but Memorial Day conjures up complicated emotions for me because he was such a proud Marine.  From the time of my first memories, I somehow knew this about my father, despite the fact that he had been retired for many years prior to my birth.

He wore his Marine Corps ring as proudly as his thick head of hair and flew the US flag outside every house he ever lived in.  He had military lapel pins and his behavior bore more permanent traces of his indoctrination – a penchant for tidiness and a concomitant disdain for clutter, a commitment to regular physical exercise, a lack of patience for laziness and a stark fear of things he couldn’t control.  This fear didn’t look like fear on my father, though, it looked like rigid boundaries, sharp edges and short leashes.  It looked as though he had everything figured out and he wanted to avoid wasting time by telling us all how to do it, everything, Life.

I don’t know how old I was when I learned he had been in Vietnam and there were so many stories running through our lives as our family imploded, it was hard to find reality among the golden threads woven in to catch our attention.  In some stories he was a helicopter pilot, in others he flew planes.  There were always model planes around the house and Dad had a jumpsuit in his closet he referred to as his “flight suit.”  After the divorce when Mom’s bitter hurt led her to discredit him at every turn in order to craft a world for us where there were winners and losers, Right and Wrong (and she was the “Right,”) she scornfully told us that he had been a mechanic – he had never flown planes or choppers. That he was a pathological liar.  I was so angry at his leaving that I sopped up every story and let myself choose her side.

As a young mother, I read Tracy Kidder’s book “My Detachment” about his tour of duty in Vietnam and I recall being physically struck with heartache at what so many young men of my father’s generation experienced. My father and I had recently begun creating a new relationship founded in our present-day lives where we were both there because we wanted to be, not because I needed him and he had to be there. After I finished the book, I wrote him a letter full of what I hoped would come off as compassion and love.  He had never talked about his experiences in the war and he didn’t seem to have any ties to people he had served with. While he identified as a Marine, it was in a fairly generic sense and he didn’t appreciate inquiries about the details of his service in Vietnam.  In my letter, I said that I understood why he didn’t want to revisit those memories and I didn’t want him to talk about them, but I hoped he knew how badly I felt for the kid he was – newly married, newly graduated from college with a fresh start ahead of him thanks to his ROTC enrollment – suddenly yanked a world away to a jungle where his job was to kill other young men.  Where his life was not his own, but was dependent on being in the right place at the right time, with land mines exploding around him and his team members dying right in front of him, not knowing if he would ever get the chance to meet the child his wife carried in her belly.  I can’t imagine what that does to someone.

He never answered my letter.

I don’t think I expected him to, but I wanted him to know that I felt like it explained a lot.  That coming home to a world that was pretty much the way it had been when he left – with friends meeting for coffee and driving to the grocery store and sleeping on mattresses with clean sheets – and trying to find a way to cope with the memories must have been torture.

He died at the age of 65 from a very aggressive form of lung cancer. This man who had exercised nearly every day of his life, never smoked a cigarette and barely drank alcohol. A man who ate the healthiest foods he could find and didn’t drink coffee and had no risk factors for lung cancer.  A man who likely inhaled copious amounts of Agent Orange as it was dropped onto the Vietnamese jungles.

About 18 months after he died his wife gave me some boxes she found in the closet in his office.  They contained slide carousels full of photos and an ancient slide projector I recognized instantly.  There were boxes and boxes of slides, labeled meticulously, and when I got home I set up the projector on the kitchen table and began clicking through the carousels – watching my parents with their 1960s polyester outfits visit places like Cape Canaveral and Disneyland. Looking at shots of birthdays and Christmas celebrations I hadn’t seen since the 1970s.  And then I got to a carousel labeled, simply, “Vietnam.”  I am fairly certain I didn’t take a breath as I dislodged the old carousel and fitted this one on to the projector.  I know I convinced Bubba to take the girls upstairs for a bath.  And then I advanced the first slide.  And there was my father, in his camo greens digging a trench with a group of other boys on a beach.  Click. Tents and cots. Click. Photos of three crew-cut, farmer-tanned teenagers grinning for the camera and flexing their biceps.  Click. My father standing on a paved airstrip next to a US Marine helicopter in his flight suit. A series of shots showed six soldiers loading in to the helicopter, one by one, with their parachutes strapped to their backs.  And then the chopper lifted a few feet off the ground.  I pictured my father standing behind the camera, taking shot after shot as the chopper flew higher and higher.  A few photos later, the chopper was a largeish speck in the blue sky, floating above the ocean and, barely discernable, a somewhat smaller speck on the opposite side of the photo.  Click. the tiny speck gets closer. Click. Still closer. Click. By now it is clear that one speck is chasing the other one. Click. A smoke trail appears in the shot as if someone were drawing a chalk line between the two specks. Click. The helicopter explodes into flames.

I sat down hard. My father filmed his fellow soldiers as their helicopter was blown out of the sky on an impossibly blue day.  Soldiers he had eaten with, built camp with, trained with, laughed with.  He watched them die. And he probably had to go up in a helicopter himself the next day.

Whether or not he believed in the reason he was there, I don’t know. I suspect he never really got much chance to think about it. He did what he was asked to do.

When he was alive, I didn’t make any special effort to honor my father on Memorial Day or Veterans’ Day.  My sole effort to appreciate his tour(s) of duty lay in that letter I wrote to him.  While I disagree with war as a solution to anything, I believe in supporting the individual human beings who serve in the military and I wish I had found a way to let my Dad know I am proud of him.  I am proud of his service in the Marine Corps.  I think he might be watching somewhere now, though, and I hope he can hear me playing Taps for him.

you clean it up. That’s the rule in our house. It’s the rule at Eve and Lola’s school, and the rule at most workplaces I know. You dirty up some dishes in the lunchroom? Wash them, dry them and put them away. No reason anyone else ought to be doing your dishes. It’s a respect thing.

I get that sometimes accidents happen. I’ve seen Lola trying to maneuver a container of yogurt out of the fridge from behind that enormous jar of pickles, only to bump the jar and have the pickles and pickle juice cascade all down the front of the refrigerator shelves and onto the floor. What generally happens in that instance is that someone comes to help her clean it up. But nobody does it for her.
More importantly, though, when it is a purposeful activity that leads to a mess – say Eve’s got a hankering to bake cookies on a rainy Sunday afternoon – she’s responsible for cleaning it up. If she needs help she can always ask.
If Lola gets aggravated at her sister for calling her a name or treating her disrespectfully and decides to dump her entire load of clean, folded laundry over the railing onto the hardwood floor below it is Lola’s job to pick up the clothes, refold them and put the basket back in front of Eve’s door.
Why is it that we hold ourselves to a higher standard than we hold our world leaders? It’s a basic premise: You make a mess, you clean it up.

Last Thursday I was listening to NPR as they featured an interview with the man responsible for starting and maintaining the landmine museum in Afghanistan. Seems like an odd theme for a museum, I know, but his purpose is to bring awareness to the enormity of the problem with landmines in this war-fatigued country. I was astonished to learn that there are an estimated TEN MILLION LAND MINES IN AFGHANISTAN. Yes, you read that correctly. And I looked it up again to make sure I heard it correctly.

A huge majority of these mines are left over from the war between the former USSR and Afghanistan. You know, the one that ended in 1988. The mine of choice for this particular ten-year war is very benignly known as a “butterfly” mine. Turns out they actually look like butterflies and were designed this way so that they could be dropped via air and gently flutter to the ground without exploding. They only explode on contact with an animal or human being. Now, can you think of a human being that might be intrigued by a hand-sized object that resembles a butterfly? A child, perhaps? And can you imagine how many children have lost limbs and eyes and THEIR LIVES by picking up these land mines that have been in Afghanistan for the last 30 years or so?

Land mines litter the landscape of Afghanistan. They are on the land that is used to graze animals, paths to and from towns, and on school property. The incidence of land mines in Afghanistan has resulted in the depopulation of entire swaths of the country because people are unwilling to take the chance that they might come across one in their daily lives. And yet, the proprietor of this land mine museum still encounters children who actively seek out these mines in order to gather the scrap metal to make a little money for their families. Because their families have lost livestock to mines or they have been forced to give up growing crops that could sustain them because their land is too dangerous to work.

Ignoring the larger question of whether or not it is even morally defensible to use land mines as an offensive tactic, when a war is over, I think it is not unreasonable to expect the country that placed them to go in and clean up the land mines. Finding and disarming these deadly weapons is expensive and time consuming, but I think if you’re willing to use them to target civilians (and don’t tell me that this isn’t what the the USSR and the Taliban were/are doing by placing mines in these particular areas), you ought to be willing to go pick up your mess when you’ve made your point. The fact that you can declare that a war is over and walk away knowing that generations of innocent civilians continue to be placed in harm’s way as a direct result of your actions during wartime seems a little too easy.

It would seem to me that the countries who use land mines as a way to wage war ought to know in advance that they will be held responsible for all of the fallout from that decision. Not all is fair in war, and I believe that leaving a country riddled with land mines constitutes a war crime.

I am a pacifist. It started when I was a freshman in high school and I read Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience.” I was so captivated by it that I convinced my English teacher to add it to the semester’s teachings, much to the chagrin of the rest of the students.

On beyond the idealistic years, (several of which I spent as a vegetarian, as well) of high school and college, while I protested the death penalty and marched in pro-choice rallies, I still believe that war is never the answer to a nation’s problems. I am not naive enough to think that there are simple solutions, and I don’t intend to get into a political or moral discourse here, and as a realist and a citizen of today’s world, I fully accept the reality of war in our human experience.
I have never been much for history, however, and so my understanding of war and other conflicts that have happened in the past is mostly based on what I learned from textbooks in the 1970s and 1980s and what I hear on NPR now. But one thing strikes me over and over again and that is just how easy it has become for nations to wage war on an enormous scale. Notwithstanding the financial cost, thanks to the technologies we have developed, instead of hand-to-hand combat with your ‘enemy,’ where you might be forced to look him in the eye and acknowledge his existence as a fellow human being, we can now wipe out entire city blocks from miles up in the sky as though this were some ultra-realistic video game. Instead of smelling the metallic tinge of blood on the ground or one’s clothing, we simply see smoke and rubble. The depersonalization of conflict seems as though it would make killing less psychologically painful for the soldier. Certainly not for those on the ground who are witnessing the violence, nor for those who are dispatched to clean up the mess, patching up limbs and faces and removing bodies from battlefields, but for the pilots dropping bombs and the generals ordering airstrikes, it seems that they are removed from the acts of violence they are committing.
[Please know that I am not condemning any of those who served in the armed forces. I know that their work is done with conviction and a desire to help. I support their sacrifices in the name of their beliefs without judgment, despite the fact that I fervently wish for a world in which war did not exist.]
Rather than anger, the subject merely prompts sadness on my part. Until yesterday when I was listening to a reporter embedded with the rebel forces in Libya describe the scene there. His report served to bring the listeners close enough to hear the shells explode and get a vivid picture of the loss of life. It occurred to me that, since this phenomenon of sending reporters out with troops began, the tide may have begun to turn. The average citizen who is privileged enough to get honest media coverage is not just a little bit closer to truly understanding the impact of warfare on human beings. Despite the fact that our weapons are still technologically capable of letting us kill masses of other people from afar, there is a human element. Reporters can interview physicians in the battle zone and describe with painful clarity what is happening to individuals, soldiers and civilians alike, real-time. While many of the soldiers involved in the conflict may not be fighting face-to-face, those at home listening or watching the coverage can actually see what we are doing to each other in the name of war/conflict/uprising/substitute other euphemism here. And if there are those who aren’t inured to the violence, perhaps we can begin to build some understanding of just exactly the harm we are causing to other human beings. Perhaps this understanding can lead to examination of our goals and, if we can lean into the discomfort of killing other people because they don’t agree with us or because they have something we want, maybe we can begin to have a dialogue about whether or not there are other ways to go about living together on the planet.
I can only hope.