Friday, July 14, 2006

The tragedy of war

'The Visage of War' by Salvador Dali - the bombs drop from Israeli planes onto Lebanon, I feel a tinge of nostalgia. I remember twenty years ago, when I was still in my youth, the names of places such as Sabra and Shatilla where Israel met with infamy, and the almost incessant news and reports of bombings and conflicts in Lebanon. Today, after 20 years of relative peace, war in Lebanon is again rearing its ugly head.

War is, obviously, never pleasant. And while self-righteous people go about provoking war, it is the ordinary people who bear the brunt of war. Their lives are suddenly disrupted, their homes subject to damage, if not destruction, their kith and kin separated, their livelihood adversely affected. I remember my mother relating how her life and opportunities were disrupted due to the Second World War in this part of the world. It was truely a tragedy.

And yet, people still provoke war. The Hizbollah and the Hamas have thrown the entire Middle-East yet again into a conflagration that will not soon go away. Whatever trust and opportunities that have been built-up over the last fews years with the eventual establishment of the Palestinian Authority is all but gone. Old foes such as Syria and Iran are working behind the scenes to further stoke the fire. More innocent lives will be lost.

Can Israel be blamed for protecting itself? After all, the incidents that provoked their present response were the blatant kidnap and capture of their own people by the Hamas and the Hizbollah. For Israel to continue holding the olive branch is nothing but suicidal policy. Can the Islamic world blame the Israelis, as the OIC under the leadership of Malaysia, has done? What if the role were reversed, that Israelis kidnap the Hamas and Hizbollah terrorists for ransom? What would the OIC say then?

Surely there must be impartiality and justice? But this has never characterised the relation between Israel and the Muslim world. What can anybody say that can bring this latest conflict to an end? Simply NOTHING, because the relationship has never been built on trust, if at all. Only the barrel of the gun will broker a truce, but peace will never come.

Painting is "The Visage of War" by Salvador Dali. Refer to

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