Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lies We Tell Ourselves

One more post on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

It occurred to me that nations, just like individuals, can fall into the bad habit and eventually deadly trap of lying to themselves. I call it a deadly trap because, often, everyone else except the nation itself knows it's a lie. And the self-deceiving nation grows in bewilderment as it finds the world not consistent with how it thinks it ought to be.

A gross example of this is America's Middle-East policy. Either we are a neutral mediator or we have a special relationship with one of the two sides there. We can't have it both ways. For God knows how long we have been lying to ourselves that we can be both of the above. We end up being neither and everyone, except us, sees it.

A consequence of this is that the moderates among Arabs are shoved to the backseat by the masses who see see this lie as clear as daylight. Radicals are empowered and commit outrageous crimes. And to that our bewildered response is "why do they hate us?" And Israelis abuse the "special relationship" to dig themselves deeper into injustice, oppression and excesses.

A truly neutral America would empower moderates on both sides to sit and work out their issues. We've been hurting the situation because of our sweet little lie.

There is yet a ray of hope in all of this. I have immense faith in America's ability to self-correct. It might take longer than we'd like but this nation has a soul. Yes, it may have started wrong on as many issues as any other nation - let's count a few: status of slaves, rights for women, civil rights for minority races - yet through debate, education, and peacefully (not to be read passively) organizing, it finds its way home. If we find America lost in its own lie today, it's only because not enough of us who see the truth have engaged our neighbors and communities to highlight this lie.

We can curse the problem or as believers in the power of action and prayer, we can bring about positive change. I think far too much blood has been shed in the Middle-East. Far too many parents have buried their own children. Way too many orphans have cried over the bodies of their parents and their bulldozed homes. And a sickening number of humans there live in rage, fear and such deep hopelessness that they resort to suicide bombing. Criminals exploit such emotions and the sick cycle continues. I bow in prayer to the Lord of Abraham, Our Lord, help us rid ourselves of our lies. Give us the tenacity to resist lies and embrace truth no matter how inconvenient. Give us hope in you mercy that we never resort to violence or excesses. Peace, O Lord, lasting peace, please!

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