War is not a soccer game

Graphic by Carleen Loney @shloneys

When it comes to war, we should not be divided.

Almost two weeks ago, I woke up to my phone flooded with news, messages and post notifications about the Israeli airstrike in Palestine. Later, pro-Palestine marches were held in downtown Montreal. On the other side, Israel’s supporters also organized a rally in front of the Israeli Consulate in Westmount. Both groups want to end the war. Both are against killing innocent souls. 

Before expressing my own view on the Israel-Hamas war, let me tell you my own war story. In the summer of 2006, I went to Lebanon for vacation. Two weeks in, Israel started throwing bombs on South Lebanon, which was where I was staying at the time. My mom received phone calls from several family members urging her to find shelter because a war was about to begin. 

We quickly packed up and went to my aunt’s house. That night was the beginning of a living hell. All we would hear was a helicopter, followed by a loud explosion. Both felt like thunder and an earthquake at the same time. Every second felt like playing Russian roulette. Is our building next? Am I next? Will my family and I be alive tomorrow? 

Our nights were dark. A light turned on at night would signify the presence of civilians in that building. I remember being afraid of lighting a candle to find my way to the bathroom.

We spent the rest of the war at my grandparent’s house on the sixth floor. I clearly remember how I would see the bomb dropping and a building collapsing before my eyes. My heart used to beat so fast that I felt it was physically going to burst out of my chest. No one and nothing can erase those memories that I will always fall short of describing.

During the period when I used to live in Lebanon, I learned to think of Israelis as our enemies. I also learned to look down on people with different religious beliefs and sexual orientations. As I grew up and eventually moved to Canada, I un-learned everything that I know now is wrong. I started loving people for who they are, regardless of our differences. The world is already full of hatred, so why can’t we be the ones spreading love and acceptance?

For this war, I will not support one country over the other. What I choose to support is ending violence against the unarmed population. I believe innocent souls do not deserve to be taken because of a war between governments. It is crucial to remember that they are all humans in the end and it is our responsibility to show each other solidarity. To me, anything that does not support peacemaking for both countries is simply unethical.

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