Scroll Top

A Note and a Prayer on the War Raging out of control in the Middle East

By: Gary Paul Nabhan

Many of you may be suffering from the grief of knowing people in harms’ way

or who have been killed in Israel, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq

as old grievances between Hamas and Israel’s Far Right have spiraled out of control

so I wish to offer my prayers and empathy for what you and they are going through.

As my poetry mentor Bill Stafford wrote, “every war has two losers” but sadly,

this war will have far more than that, since missiles have been sent across borders

of at least seven countries, and both Jews and Palestinians have suffered

from hate crimes related to this conflict over the last month. No one benefits

but it is important to say aloud that the entire world loses freedom of the press

when 54 Palestinian, 4 Israeli and 3 Lebanese journalists have been killed

merely trying to offer views into the chaos that many of us sorely need

to make real sense of the costs of this conflict to over 20 ethnicities.

For my part, I have close cousins whose villages and cities have been hit

with missiles and artillery fire between Israel and Hezbollah, even though

they may be of Maronite, Antiochian Catholic, Druse or faiths other than Shi’a.

I have visited that part of Lebanon many times, staying for more than two months

In the Bekaa and in Beirut, so these costs to human health are not an abstraction:

One of my cousins was kidnapped and sealed in a coffin for days during another conflict

and has never really recovered from his post-traumatic stress up through this moment.

I have also been invited to talk to both Israeli and Palestinian universities and non-profits

from Jerusalem to Jerico and the West Bank and can assure that none of my hosts

Were war-mongers, racists or far-right fundamentalists. They were bright, decent,

compassionate people who may get deeply upset by violence and injustices,

but they are not my “enemies” nor do I believe they are yours. My heart is with them,

for any time any of us can get out of the mindset that this war is a remote abstraction

that does not deeply affect lives of those we know, or our own, we are blessed

by the possibility that humanity will prevail over militaristic, strategic thinking.

Pray. Act. Accompany others in their suffering. Write political leaders. Support the Red Cross.

Related Posts