It is a common theme throughout the world that governments like to create war and the people they govern would rather live in peace. Traditionally, the "theater of war" requires the state to create some sort of "justification" for war. What if people decided to not take the bait for once? What if people decided that there is NO justification for war and violence? Well, that is exactly what is starting to happen.
A simple search of the hashtag #werefusetobeenemies, or #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies will show a very different story than what is being pushed by corporate media, governments and weapons manufacturers. Social media has once again provided an opportunity for the people to tell their own stories to the world. The hatred is there, but it is really a very small percentage of heavily armed people and when you start to realize this, your perspective of humanity, of resilience and hope will be strengthened greatly.
This is a conflict between Israel and Hamas, not a conflict between Jews and Arabs. Don't conflate. #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies
-- piya chattopadhyay (@piyachatto) July 23, 2014
Below are excerpts from a Statement of the 50 participants of the Vision Camp for Israel-Palestine on July 26, 2014. This is a group of peacekeepers from around the world including Israelis and Palestinians who have gathered to create a new vision that supports a healthy future for people on all sides of the conflict:
As peaceworkers from Israel, Palestine and various other parts of the world, we have been holding a peace vigil in the middle of a war in the West Bank over the last several days. We are gathering here under very simple conditions, creating community life, sharing from our hearts, in silence and in tears, in the midst of shootings and bombings. The civil population is being lied to on both sides, and the world is mostly silent and misled by the media. It does not take much political education to recognize the injustice of this war. Many countries are delivering weapons and enriching themselves through the war. But who sits next to the beds of the injured children and crying mothers? Who feels empathy with their bleak destiny? Who heals the wounds, dries the tears and eases the pain of all those who have lost family members or beloved friends?
One of our Palestinian participants said, "In 2001, I decided to stop being a victim. We are not two sides; we are one side. We have one common enemy: hatred." How many more innocent people have to be killed, how many more generations will have to carry guns so their people can feel safe? Are we aware that every killing creates new hatred, new fear and more revenge? Israelis will never feel safe, and Palestinians will never be free, unless they begin building mutual relationships of trust and respect. And this land will never be holy while we keep watering it with blood. A true nonviolent revolution starts within ourselves.
We are calling out to specialists from all areas - doctors, water experts, ecologists, technologists, peace activists, decision-makers, spiritual leaders, peace journalists, film-makers, politicians and each and everyone of you: Let us come together and put our wisdom to work! Let us overcome the walls of separation. Together, we will create completely new ways of sharing this planet."
You can read the whole statement here and sign their petition here. There is no side to be on besides the side of humanity. Those who carry machines of killing and take the lives of innocent civilians are terrorists on BOTH sides of the conflict in Gaza and elsewhere around the world. It is becoming more apparent every day that the people of the world are ready for peace. I will leave you with a compelling quote by Erin Niemela in her wonderful article, "One Insidious Myth Prevents Peace in Gaza" which I highly recommend to anyone interested in creating peace:
There's really only one myth that needs busting around here and it's this: "Violence is justifiable." Violence is never justifiable.
Article originally appeared on Culture Collective.