I went to listen to speech given by Combatants for Peace (http://www.combatantsforpeace.org/
I knew what they were going to say and I was highly supportive of this kind of activity. But I thought probably there were nothing new I could learn from since my own country went through 150 years’ turmoil and I am familiar with that. But I am still glad I went. It refreshed my memory of how I used to feel.
Two guys on the stage, one was once a soldier of Israeli army. The other was a soldier of the Palestinian side and stayed in Israeli prison for 4 years.
As the guy from Israeli said, the intension between Israel and Palestine is irrelevant to Americans since it kind of has nothing to do with them. For himself, when he was a kid, he didn’t know how it relate to himself. He proudly joined the army, thinking it as a honorary and obligation, just like many young people of Israel. But when his young sister was killed on her way to … (don’t remember where, just a normal place like a market or a church), he started to probe this issue deeply since it directly affect him. To revenge? He realizes that he lives in Israel. So this war is closely related to him. He is in it. He has to play a role. Thus in the following months and years, he started to think honestly about this war, why people are so insensitive, drawing such a clear black and white line…
Above is just a brief recap of what he said according to my memory. He said it pretty well. You should go to one of these events.
Listening to his words, I felt a real person talking about his real life. Every word is so fresh with life. It is so strange to have that feeling considering we are actually all living our lives. However, sometimes, we feel more real, sometimes we feel very superficial. I guess it is just how we feel. If you want to feel real, then you need to interact with the outside, have an impact, play a role. Actually we DO have responsibilities for people around us.
Americans’ lives are not on the line. But their money put the lives of the people in other countries on the line. Thus Americans have a responsibility to know those people, to know what American government is doing oversea. Americans shouldn’t just sit comfortably in a SUV and drive around alone without knowing what is going on in the world.
Once enemies trying to kill each other, now reach across to become friends working hard together. Looking at these two once enemies fighting on the battlefield now sit together talking about stopping violence and building peace, I am thinking if they can do it, Americans have no excuse not to resolve to peaceful ways in their response to 911.
I came from a country that had gone through 150 years of turmoil of wars, revolutions and various movement. Violence only tore people’s hearts apart, made them mocking other people’s suffering. As far as violent revolution goes, it didn’t change the soil at all. I am very luck to grow up in the peaceful era of my country. As I grew up, I saw people’s hearts change. We have been fighting for ideologies for more than 100 years. Now we start to realize what the important things in life are and what our happiness are. We start to pursue our own happiness and start to understand more of other people. In these 20, 30 years of peace, order is gradually settled. If you are amazed by China’s recent economical success, I can tell you it is mostly because we finally have 30 years of peace.This is the basic reason I choose to do elearning for my life. I want to change the soil in a peaceful way. For the same reason, I am very much against Bush’s war in Iraq. It is also why I don’t agree with some progressive folks who advocate using violence to achieve their grand mission (Some of them even suggest tearing down the whole civilization and start it over. But my question is: in that huge turmoil after your tear down the civilization through violence, who can be that super smart guy who is able to control the situation and guide people where to go?).
What is my role in this American culture? What can I do here? I really shouldn’t think about these. I should forget all these. I am still learning language and culture here. I should just play around, like a kid. I should forget all the idealism. Not for me yet.
Always this kind of dilemma living in a foreign culture. 🙂