There is a phrase... "I can't imagine..."
You might say this to someone when there is a pain in them that appears to be unbearable... a situation that seems far removed from your sanitized reality, yet one that demands the salve of human acknowledgment and empathy.
I've had a recent revelation. This phrase, "I can't imagine" is a lie. Stop saying it if you're trying to empathize.
You can imagine. You can imagine anything at anytime.
The truth is, that you WON'T imagine.
Not "can't." Can't implies lack of ability.
"Won't" as in "Will not". The word "will" is strong. It is the reflection of our intention and the promise of its realization in the near future.
"I won't imagine that what is happening to you will ever happen to me."
"I won't imagine who I would become if the things I fear most became a stark reality instead of a boogeyman."
"I won't imagine that you worry about whether your children will be alive tomorrow morning."
"I won't imagine that you are afraid in a way I have never been and that your choices and words are affected by that."
"I won't imagine that the threat of annihilation is so real for your people that you have lost sight of the fact that you cannot war on the collective without bathing in the blood of the innocent."
"I won't imagine the ways in which you are wrong while also acknowledging that I would be wrong in all the same ways if I were you."
Have ability. Will not use it. No, I won't imagine.
I won't imagine because then I'll have to confront the human cost of politicizing, pontificating, and propagandizing.
I don't like this word "conflict" to describe the events in Israel-Gaza. The word conflict shrouds us in the cloak of "can't" imagine."
What if you did imagine, though?
What if we used words besides "terrorist," "resolutions," "threat," "annihilation," "human shield," "disproportionate" and a plethora of other words that take what is very real and human and transform it into an object lesson? About post colonialism. Imperialism. Zionism. Islamism. Pick your poison-ism.
Would you go to the place beyond these words? The place where you truly felt what it is like to send your only sons to war? Or to let you little daughter stay up late and eat chocolate because that might be her last piece on the last night of her life?
I'm confident that most of you knew how you felt about this issue the moment you read the first bit of information.
I did. But, this was enough to make me careful in my expression because it meant I was thinking from the place that "can't imagine."
I have spent a month imagining how the side with whom I'm sympathetic feels and thinks AND, even more importantly, how the other side feels and thinks. I have decided that my opinion is less important than my task which is to be the voice that reminds you that we are humans talking about other humans.
Humans talking about other humans.
Humans with sons, and little girls, and mothers, and favorite TV shows and, please, for the love of all things remember that every time you write or say Israeli, Jew, Palestinian or Arab that you are talking about HUMANS.
Even the ones that we think are wrong are humans just like you. Please don't inhabit the world of "can't imagine" where you fool yourself into thinking you'd do things differently. You probably wouldn't. Because you are a human, too.
We must do this - remember that at the core we are all humans. We must do this or we will perish. Maybe not perish in the physical sense, but in the most terrible way that humanity can perish.
The following video is a little over eight minutes long. I have read hundreds of articles and seen enough videos in the past thirty days. I haven't shared a single one. This is the one that I have decided to share.
Take a deep breath and remember we are all humans. Watch it.
Spend at least the time it took to watch it while letting yourself imagine before you share it on Facebook or somewhere else.
Israeli and Palestinian Mother Debate Gaza Conflict -
(sorry, if you can't see video, you'll have to copy/paste the link -- my blog is being silly and since it is not human I'm not going to negotiate further with it.).