As I sat by Tel Aviv’s beach this week, I watched in horror as scores military aircraft passed over-head. It lasted only about twenty minutes, but felt like an eternity as I stared on blankly, paralysed by its surreality. It wasn’t my first time in a war like scenario; I had been in Ramallah during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2008/2009. But it was my first time with this level of awareness and now I understood within the depths of my soul that none of it was really necessary.
The Israelis around me barely noticed and those who did justified the military presence by citing the hostile Arab environment in which many believed they had found themselves. For them, war and military had become a large part of their daily lives and I could understand why my sentiments at the time were not shared.
A subsequent Haaretz article confirmed the speculation; it was a military drill preparing for what they termed the Hezbollah, Hamas and Syrian ‘axis’. The chosen rhetoric implied undertones of evil reminding me of the Bush address some ten years before about of the Iranian, Iraq and North Korean axis of ‘evil’. The media hype surrounding Bush’s address was used to justify unjustified wars where millions of innocent people perished.
I have spent all of my adult life trying to understand the workings of the world, a quest to understand the truth in its entirety. I understand that it is an ambitious task that can never be fully realised, but one that progresses nonetheless.
My research often led me back to poverty and war; aspects of our society that are so overwhelmingly disempowering that ignoring their existence has become the chosen dealing mechanism of the masses.
And then my research reached a plateau. In a moment, all the research and experiences I had accumulated, culminated into a profound realisation that would come to guide my very reason for existence.
War and poverty are not natural phenomenon. They are created and sustained by an inadequate global socio-economic system that serves the interests of the few. They are man-made and can be man-changed.
Following this revelation I began to perceive society as changeable and realised that we could in fact stop war and poverty but only once we sorted through the propaganda and came to know the truth.
It is said that the first causality of war is the truth and it would be difficult to find a person who disagrees. So why is it so hard for people to comprehend that it is they who have fallen victim to the very propaganda that creates and sustains wars?
Wars continue because we fail to see their true causes. We ignorantly believe that the problem lies within humanity, with each other. But that’s another lie too because humans are inherently good, peaceful and loving.
Chaos persists because we’ve been lied to. We’ve been made to believe that we are different and separate. We’ve been made to believe that the ‘other’ is inherently evil. We’ve forgotten our common humanity.
The Middle East is flaring up and World War Three may have already started. If we all don’t do something soon, it may be too late for all of us. We must open our minds and hearts and remember that humanity is not the enemy.
Because when I looked up at those planes it occurred to me that the only thing they were truly defending was our collective ignorance. Through education, truth seeking and action any war can be stopped. Because the simple truth of the matter is that 99% of us don’t actually want war, but are somehow made to believe that we do.