OK, so I'm going to stand here just for the sake of standing
A letter that I wrote to our local newspaper appeared today. Since our local paper no longer puts much of its content on the Web, I'll display my letter here. After all, what's a blog for? Ah, but one thing that html allows me to do is to link to the writers who inspired me (and who write so much better than I do):
I woke up last Saturday morning with the weight of the war between Israel and Hezbollah crushing me. Sounds silly now as I write it. With all that I needed to live comfortably, I had nothing to complain about except the summer’s high temperatures and humidity. Most of all, my loved ones were safe. I was not awakened that morning by the crash of missiles. I did not have to pull my children out from beneath the rubble of our house.
I thought of the interview our President had given on Fox News, back on the last day of July. He had dismissed the idea of an immediate, unconditional cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah as merely “stopping for the sake of stopping.” I was still aghast. Had the two parties been persuaded to stop for the sake of stopping, at least 16 children would still be alive in Qana. Had a cease-fire been negotiated before today, the day I write these words, more than 900 Lebanese and almost 100 Israelis would still be alive, not to mention the thousands that would have escaped injury.
Waiting, taking sides, and calculating who did what to whom first will lead nowhere. As one writer recently put it, this tragedy will not be solved with a calculator. All sides must put down their arms and deal with the here and now...or there will be no future for anyone, let alone for the children who are innocent, no matter which side their parents are on or whose stockpile of weapons happens to be located in their neighborhood. Children belong to everyone, no matter the side. They are the sign of our common humanity.
We in the U.S. spend so much time thinking about how best to preserve all that we have, lest “they” attack and take it from us. We forget that we are the most influential country in the world. “They” –especially those in a position to make crucial decisions—actually want to be on our good side. We have clout far beyond our military’s explosive tonnage. If we used our brain instead of our brawn and urged warring parties to do the same, we would reap more cooperation and goodwill. Most of all, we would save the lives of the children growing up in the most dangerous parts of the world.
Heartsick, I went to participate in the peace vigil in front of the courthouse last Saturday. What good was I doing standing there for peace? After all, stopping the hostilities for the sake of stopping was not reason enough for our leaders. But then, who knows? My presence might move one more person to write to the President and to the Secretary of State, urging them to act for peace now. One child might live who would otherwise have died.
So I'm going to stand here for the sake of standing.