We began the 21st century with the hope that the atrocities of the 20th would never be repeated. That the long, bloody struggles of our forefathers would be substituted with peaceful discourse and dialogue. That the forests and cities of our countries needn’t have to burn as our hearts did. That rage and anger could give way to moderation and tolerance.
How ironic then, that our entrance into the ninth year of this century was marked by violence unprecedented in its scale, ruthless in its execution, and horrifying in its aftermath.
Already we hear the word ‘holocaust’ being repeated on the lips of many: from hawker stalls and offices to parliaments and palaces, the word is no longer just a hollow reference to the suffering that so many innocents were forced to endure during the darkest days of the Second World War. In the wake of the mind-numbing devastation we have seen over the past months, that very same word has now become synonym with the carnage that has taken place in the small square piece of land known as the Gaza Strip.
Yet, even a conflict such as this has not united us in our common striving for peace. Divided by the same borders that separated two peoples in one land, the world was split in half as each man, woman and child took sides in this fight, each blaming the other for crimes committed.
We all know the facts by now. One is at fault for its use of excessive force and the systematic murder of the civilian populace. Another is wrong because it protects itself by hiding among innocents and perpetrating acts of terrorism to further its cause.
But even as we blame the two, remember that we are equally to blame as well. How long have we been witness to this war? How long have we written, spoke, and demonstrated about it? Over the years that we were given to find a resolution to this conflict, what progress have we made towards that end? So long as one side continues to besiege the other with fear and death, there can be no respite from the violence that has come to define the region.