Israel and Hamas: All Is NOT Fair in Love & War

by | Dec 4, 2023 | Larry's Observations

Building in Israel damaged by the Hamas attack of Oct 7th. Image: Zaka photograher, Wiki Commons

Israel and Hamas: All Is NOT Fair in Love & War

by | Dec 4, 2023 | Larry's Observations

Building in Israel damaged by the Hamas attack of Oct 7th. Image: Zaka photograher, Wiki Commons

War stinks! There is no question about it. It is a disgrace that humanity has not progressed beyond this.

How do you confront evil when it is so easy to look the other way. As the horror story unfolds, I have found myself wondering if I am somehow watching the wrong movie with triple X-rated effects. I find myself listening to cries of joy when Hamas has hacked away at innocents. I must wonder what went wrong with our species! There can be no joy in slicing open a pregnant woman and killing her and her fetus. There can be no joy in beheading a baby. There can be no joy in raping young women. There can be no joy in hunting down and shooting or stabbing unarmed persons. There can be no joy in burning bodies unrecognizable.

A massacre is not a sport to be taken up as competition, yet these are the images I am left with. And as the weeks roll by, the images fade like an old photograph fading. There is no joy in my writing this and I wish I was not compelled to do so because I don’t want it to feel like I just watched a horror movie and walked out of the theater. I don’t want that.

I don’t want to conflate this with a declaration of war and yes war is hell and there is nothing fair about it. You don’t purposely go after innocents. Soldier against soldier may not be appealing but it is a reality of war and yes there is collateral damage (I genuinely hate that expression). I don’t want to be one-sided and unfair, but I am furious with the world and am furious with humanity and mostly I am furious with Hamas for taking cruelty to an entirely new level that I could not even think of in my worst nightmare. This is on Hamas; I don’t care to hear another opinion.

War stinks! There is no question about it. It is a disgrace that humanity has not progressed beyond this. But what does one do if attacked? Do you stand meekly by, and scream love thy neighbor? Do you match force for force and work to defeat the enemy and if the enemy hides in the clothes of ordinary people? What then, you cannot just shoot everyone?

This is the proverbial rock and a hard place and the world I firmly wedged. What can pull the earth from this calamity, this catastrophe? I am taking suggestions, for I am without. We cannot stand silent. Jews have always been the world’s scapegoat, yet we persist and are not going anywhere. I do wish I could be more pragmatic and not so emotional, but I am so angry. Billions and billions have been poured into Gaza and instead of building an economy and society and yes civilization, the monies have been turned into rockets and rifles. This is not how you run a country.

Simultaneously, I deplore the wretched and deplorable loss of life of innocent Palestinians. I hate that children are taught to hate and must die with that hate and not know love. I deplore what is going on in the world suddenly to filled with so much acrimony, malice, and rancor.

Love thy neighbor sounds so good on paper. I don’t know how to reconcile these two sides of me and the world. I watch as the words magically appear on the screen as my fingers caress the keyboard. Cannot, life be the same gentle caresses producing words of love even when I feel so much hate building up inside me.

I don’t want to succumb to a life filled with anxiety and hatred and revulsion. That is no way to live. I think of the unfortunate Palestinian youths that are indoctrinated from their earliest ages to lives filled with such loathing.

I was not brought up to hate. When I look back on my childhood, I don’t know that I was brought up with anything but a strong work ethic. My dad worked until he was 90. Now that is impressive. He taught me that an honest day’s work (with overtime of course) pays you an honest buck. I started working and helping out in that silkscreen printing business from the time I was 12. He was never my hero, but I respected him, and we had some good times especially going to stock car races and demolition derby. I wrote this poem for my dad’s 86th birthday. It seems like a great way to get away from death and talk about life worth living at this moment.

Islip Speedway Remembered

We are talking about
Stock Cars, Daredevils
and Demolition Derby
ahhhh Demolition Derby!

And Islip Speedway
a Long Island ritual
Like my Bar Mitzvah
only louder
Like teenage fantasies
only louder
Like a ballgame
only louder!

Dad proudly guides
me behind the sound
of roaring engines
to a place only
sharp-eyed mechanics

So excited
I vibrate
with delight
crew cut boy
out with his Dad.

We strut to the ticket booth
get passages to puberty
then march
through gates of glory
like visiting royalty.

The smell of burnt rubber
on asphalt assaults me
eyes tear from the intrusion
engines rev bursting
I am at Islip Speedway.

Stock Cars, Daredevils
and Demolition Derby…

Ultimate daredevil Joie Chitwood
drives on two wheels
in his endless
exploration of gravity.

Stock cars wiz by
in transient victory
no one knows who wins
we don’t care
we live for speed.

And then it’s time
for the bestest spectacle
in the entire free world
– Demolition Derby
fenders bang
bumpers thump
drivers snarl
in this jungle
of vehicular dreams
all to the sound
of earsplitting screams
from the crowd.

Stock Cars, Daredevils and Demolition Derby
Oh yeah, Demolition Derby!
And a boy who loves his Dad!


Lawrence George Jaffe

Lawrence George Jaffe

Lawrence George Jaffe is an internationally known and an award-winning writer, author, and poet. For his entire professional career, Jaffe has been using his art to promote human rights. He was the poet-in-residence at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, a featured poet in Chrysler’s Spirit in the Words poetry program, co-founder of Poets for Peace (now Poets without Borders) and helped spearhead the United Nations Dialogue among Civilizations through Poetry project which incorporated hundreds of readings in hundreds of cities globally using the aesthetic power of poetry to bring understanding to the world.

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