Friday, August 5, 2005

Calling It What It Is

Sometimes people pose questions to me. Maybe something like, "Sure, you don't like it when XYZ person does this, and you post about it, but would you have bothered to say anything if it was your guy?" OK, really just Barry asks me that.

Well Barry, yes.

Perhaps my example is not person - specific, but it's certainly something that I identify strongly with. I'm Jewish, and I was raised in such a way that it forms a central part of my identity. No, I'm not religious, but I know deep down that I belong to a certain group. My parents instilled this sense of identity in me, and I think that it's a common thing. Parents want their children to be proud of their heritage, and they want them, if necessary, to understand that others might believe that their beliefs are something to look down on and ridicule. I was taught that sometimes people are afraid of anything different, and lies are told to keep the fear alive. I was also taught that the right thing to do was to respect other people, and to hold human life as the most valuable commodity of all. I learned to be wary, and to try not to judge, even though that's very hard, and I don't always manage it.

This morning, a Jewish militant went on a killing rampage in an Arab town in Israel. This is a terrible crime. All Jews are supposed to be taught that we value human life above all else, it's written down and everything. An excellent article I've recently read about the Preservation of life in the Jewish faith gives a good insight into just how far Jewish law states that people should go to preserve life; taking it is almost unthinkable. That article, by the way, is an excellent insight into my views on abortion as well. You can see directly what I was taught, and I've always found the rules specific, and reasonable.

So, knowing that I value human life above all else, know that I find the actions of this angry, mislead, militant beyond the pale. I find them as abhorrent as the actions of Jonathan Zarate the other day. Life is what we're supposed to protect, not destroy. Killing to save a life is the only kind of killing I can understand, and I'm not at all sure that I personally would be able to do it. Probably, I mean, I'm a pretty angry chick, so if I see that you're going to kill me, or someone else, I'd probably have to take you out, but still, I'm not sure.

Damn, lost the point again. Oh, right - killing is wrong, wrong, wrong. It's wrong if you're an 18-year-old who's had an argument and it's wrong if you live every day in a hot climate with very little water where you know that millions of Arabs want you and your people off of your land. Personal vendettas hurt causes, not help them. Being Jewish does not justify the actions of this boy in my mind. I don't pardon him because he's "on my side". My heart goes out to the families of the Israeli Arabs who were killed, because grief is universal.

No comments: