I hesitate to talk about and to not talk about the war. The war that has everyone’s attention. The war that has at least two sides which people are lining up on. And many of us in the middle not wanting to be forced to choose. From a distance, we have the option of not choosing. A privileged option that those living in the war zone can’t imagine. All of us frightened of what will happen next. Most wanting a cease-fire, and yet understanding why that doesn’t feel like an option. Most of us have strong feelings, even if we don’t know too many facts. But war is not about facts. It is about an inner truth – a moral knowing. I offer this response to a question posed by the poet Padraig O’Tuama.
THINGS I DO NOT KNOW ABOUT THE ISRAELI-HAMAS WAR
In the long run, what is it about?
What is going on behind the scenes that is not reported?
For whom is this war a proxy?
What do the death tallies mean?
Under what conditions did soldiers on all sides grow up?
At this same time, what other wars are being fought that I don’t know about and why?
Who is being asked to sacrifice what?
I don’t know the names of the dead, or of those who kill.
I don’t know the names of the hostages or the hostage-takers.
What do the soldiers eat for breakfast?
Who holds the hands of the soldier’s mothers?
What causes war?
How am I warlike?
~ Penny Hackett-Evans