I‘ve sometimes shared posts by my friend Dr. Kelly Flanagan, on my FB page. I admire his take on life, child-rearing, and relationships. This week I couldn’t agree with him as he wrote about ISIS and their most recent attacks. Though we’ve never met, and have only corresponded via email over the past couple of years, we share a deep mutual respect. Which gave me the courage to write the following.
A long time ago I attended a pro-Israel rally. It was at the time of one of the incessant uprisings against Israel. When it was over, a group of Palestinian supporters stood on the street opposite the synagogue holding up Israel’s state flag with a nazi swastika on it. On the synagogue side of the street a friend of mine who had fought in Desert Storm 1 held up the Stars and the Stripes. My kids and i went to stand silently beside him while those on the other side of the street continued their shouting. What a metaphor.
I wanted to cross the street. Wanted to go up to the man and say, I can see that you are a human being. Can you not see that in me? In my children? But I didn’t. I was too afraid.
These terrorists are out of control children with weapons. They are two-year olds, all ego, with murderous intentions. I do not hate them. I do think they should be eliminated because they are a danger to all that is civilized in this world. And sometimes humans with that dark and destructive power have to be eliminated even if innocents will go down with them.
There is a story from Exodus. When the Israelites had crossed the sea, Miriam and the women took up timbrels and began dancing, celebrating the fact that they were alive and that Pharaoh’s horsemen were drowned. God calls down to them and says, “Why are you rejoicing when some of My children have died?” What we are taught to take from this is that number 1 this was part of the plan and yet God was still in mourning for His Children. Two, we are not to exult at the tragedies that befall others. This is why at the Passover Seder each year, we remove ten drops of wine from our cups when reciting the Ten Plagues. This removal of the joy, which wine symbolizes in Jewish tradition, echoes back to God’s conversation with Miriam. It is our yearly reminder that all are God’s children, even those whose plans are destructive, and we are not to take joy in another’s suffering, no matter how they have harmed us.
I don’t have time to hate. But I do wish we had leaders who understood what is at stake and would quit equivocating. Decades ago Arafat’s henchman threw an 80-year-old-man in a wheelchair off a cruise ship. The world did a few air strikes and tsk tsk’s at the “crazies.” That is what has never been understood. We look at the situation through our lens and say, OH they are crazy they will go away. We’ve been doing that for decades b/c who but the crazy can be so uncivilized? I won’t even write some of their acts here.
They are not crazy. They are stone cold deliberate; they are absolutely logical and have followed through on every intention they have stated (no matter how insane it sounds to us.) This is why the Islamists are so dangerous. Peace, as it is understood as the absence of strife war, and conflict, is not the answer. Love of humanity’s survival is more important than love of these humans who have voided their place in civilized society with their blood lust and their intentions to conquer the world and create a Caliphate.
We have evolved from such an understanding of the world. Cancer cells are nothing but unchecked cells. They have run amok, feeding upon the atmosphere of their host. Cancer has to be excised in whatever way possible to save the being within which it grows. The Islamists, Muslim extremists, whatever anyone wants to call them, they are destroyers. We have ignored them at our own peril. They too must be exorcised, by any means possible, no matter how many healthy “cells” go down with them.
And then, should we find ourselves on the far side of the Sea of Reeds, perhaps we will not take up timbrels and rejoice. Instead, and hopefully, we will extend our hands to those yearning to breathe free and walk forward together in peace and unafraid.