Once Upon A Time...
I was 14 years old (young) and I was inspired by a teacher. This was many years ago, but this teacher was a history teacher. I adored him because I felt like he gave me a passion for humanity by sharing the story of the Jewish people. I learned a new word, Holocaust. I learned about genocide, and what I also learned was about the role our country played in liberating the Jewish people. I wept over the 6 million people, for at last, I found a story I felt I could relate to.
"Never Again" was my passion and it inspired me to join the Air Force at the age of 21.
I was not aware of the whole story. I didn't know anything about Zionism, but I felt the passion to be protective of the legacy. These people had known such total pain. They had seen their families killed, had their property stolen, and when liberated, they had nothing to go back to. I sought out concentration camp survivors, befriended them, heard their stories...and found one problem. They still had an incredible amount of hate. They never could forgive. It was them against the world and they lived in fear of people. I wrestled with points of forgiveness within my own life. I knew what it was like, as many people in this world have experienced, many forms of pain, suffering and abuses.
That is what I identified with. I understand both. I understand what it is to forgive someone who doesn't deserve it. I understand what it is not to forgive. I will say that I suffered the most by not forgiving. It was by not forgiving that I was never able to forget. It was by not forgiving that I had kept my own hatred alive. It was by not forgiving that I kept talking about my own pain and the pain of others. I had kept ripping those wounds open over and over again. It had made me an unpleasant person. It had made me an unforgiving person, demanding impossible levels of perfection from all who were in my life.
I went through my own path in personal areas of my life to let go of the pain so my deep wounds could at last heal in my life. I cried easily because I finally was able to cry. I finally was able to laugh. I finally was able to smile. I was finally able to see because my thinking had changed. It wasn't distorted by hatred and violence.
I began to question what we were doing. I began to see a darker picture of the lies that had been pushed on the American people, the world, the UN, and other nations saw through the lies that Americans so readily believe, because it IS incomprehensible that we would not be able to trust our government. A government that professed freedom (but there is none), liberty (but there is none), and the pursuit of happiness (but at least we have it in writing).
What I have provided are three messages that I would like people to share and understand. These three messages alone did not change my mind about the State of Israel. No, far from it. I started following the information by following history and the incomprehensible question that led me on this journey. I had to find out one answer. Like with any crime, you must have a motive.
Nagging away was the following question. What transformed a nation to rise up against a minority group? What caused these people to rise up and slaughter them? I had gone to West Germany as a youth instead of Israel. I looked at the Germans and could not comprehend what I saw. I saw a free and open society, many races, many differences and a very beautiful culture. They were a prosperous people, hard working, strong families, and a powerful belief in their society. Was it Patriotism alone that killed the Jews in foreign soils?
How do you ask a nation, "Why did you kill these people?"
I did ask the question. Several times I asked the question. I received many responses. There were some that still hated the Jews. There were some that were not able to respond. "It was the thing to do at the time." or "It was safe to hate them." but the answer that summed it up the best, "It was like a river of hatred that swept us all in. It was socially acceptable to hate them, because everyone hated them. It was no loss to hate them because they hated us."
Some of the answers stunned me. I didn't comprehend this level of hatred.
One thing that stunned me years later, was this group of people that were representative of my years of service, to be a 'champion' of human rights through my military service, to prevent genocide and serve for humanitarian missions was the content of my heart. I could find reasons to continue serving. Albania, Bosnia, Serbia...and the Kurdish minorities who were abused by the Iraqi Republican Guard...I heard and watched their cried...that is up until Rwanda and Brunhdi. We did not go in because they were black. We could have saved 20 percent of their populations. We could have gone in when the UN pulled out.
We did nothing and I wept when I was in Germany. It would be 15 years later, when I would meet the children of hell who survived and became students of mine in China. I would find fresh tears on my face, not because of what they went through, but of the lessons of forgiveness they continue to teach the world.
I would also meet a Kurdish student who thanked me for my service because of what his people suffered under the Saddam regime. Still, I was not convinced. Iraq had turned into a war for oil and not so much about the atrosicities committed against the Iraqis and Kurds.
Hatred. Genocide. These two powerful words are bolstered with a third, Holocaust.
I have faced these words, vowing always to be on the side of good. On the side of humanity. That to me, was paramount. That was my oath, upon the altar of my heart. Without any doubt, or moment of mental reservation would I stand up for people that I felt needed a voice.
That is my "Never Again". Never again to fuel the fires of hatred. However, there is another truth that must surface. Hurt people often abuse others. Many abusers, murderers, rapists were also victimized.
Within the last few years, I have finally been able to see and willing to look at a place called "Palestine". I immediately would tune out anything that had to do with Israel because of the images of the Holocaust. It was as if it was a form of magic had been used to keep me blind.
What ever I thought I had known about Palestine, was hugely distorted.
The nation of Israel had USED the Holocaust to shield their actions against the Palestinians. I learned from the Jewish people, from soldiers, from the stories and images of the killed and wounded. I began to finally see what many Americans were kept from seeing.
These stories are about humanity. Humanity is for all. No one race is more protected than another, for evil is easy to see. When a woman is beaten and a child ripped from her arms. When a family is forced out of their own home at machine gun point. When people are killed for standing up for their families, their homes and for their community...
it is simple.
It is inhumane.
If you are loyal to Israel, as I was, take a real look at what is being done, using American funding. We have become the evil we have feared by supporting the persecution of the Palestinians. The Palestinians have been occupied, slaughtered and displaced from their own nation. No matter what your beliefs are, your heart should reveal that this is as inhumane.
Before the nation of Israel was established, without the consent of Palestine, Muslims, Jews and Christians lived in peace together.
There hasn't been a lasting peace since 1946. I have heard from Palestinians who have told me, "I will never leave my homeland." They have lived under the shadow of death their entire lives. Isn't it time for the key of peace to be given out?
Which comes from understanding that most of our beliefs are embedded along the way. If we have our media, governments and families shape our beliefs, it is for their purposes and not for us to discover our own.
Years later, I had found my history teacher. I had asked him about Zionism. He had said, "There is no such thing as Zionism." My heart sank. I knew right then and there that he had withheld the truth, which is the same as lying. A person I had held up with such high regard, was not even to marry the woman he had loved because their religions were different. He had begged me to see Israel one day in my travels.
Instead, I saw Palestine. I saw the truth of how these people were treated, with hatred instead of love.
Believe nothing, ever, because believing is not knowing.
Know by learning and teaching yourself along the way.
Namaste, my friends.