Recently I've been invited to attend a number of protests concerning the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, asked to sign different petitions and encouraged to share different articles about the situation. I've done the latter a couple of times depending on the content of the article, but I have done neither of the former two, because I have not yet been entirely comfortable with the tone or origin of the protest or petition.  I don't know enough about the conflict to know how to effectively register my concerns, but I know enough to know which petitions I am not going to sign, and am reluctant to let my name on a petition or presence at a protest be held to indirectly add support to causes I would never support in a million years. I am not going to stand side by side with someone comparing the IDF to the Nazis, extolling the virtues of Hamas, or on the other hand sign a petition that equates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. As a result I have felt somewhat powerless. 
This is particularly problematic here in Northern Ireland where every global disagreement becomes viewed through the myopic green and orange tinted lenses worn by the people in this place, leading most discussions on facebook threads to become relatively predictable in terms of who supports what or whom. So again, I have tended to keep well clear... The following expresses some of my frustrations, but also some of the basic principles that guide my thoughts in this and other conflict situations. 

I'm Protestant...
I'm also pro-Catholic.
Pro-Unionist and pro-Republican.
Pro-Irish and pro-British.
Pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian.
Pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian.
Pro-American and pro-European.
Pro-Scottish and pro-English.



Anti-simplistic oppositional politics

Divide and conquer
Us and ours
Them and theirs
A long record of wrongs
Zero sum
They win
We lose

My enemy's enemy is my friend
But I long to make my enemy my friend
And to make erstwhile enemies
into new found friends.

And where I cannot find a way
of doing that directly
I will pray for those
who risk their lives
to bring love and peace
to places of hatred and conflict

Palestine... Israel... Iraq... Syria... Ukraine... Nigeria...
Northern Ireland...

I am Protestant



Pushpa V said…
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