What Good Will It Do?

The US battleship is on its way again to the Middle East. This time to bomb Syria.

Winter 1983-1984. New Jersey was again in the waters of the Mediterranean. The civil war was still going on in Lebanon and there were gunmen, militias belonging to various groups almost everywhere. They were on the streets in the city, and up in the mountains.

The city of Beirut was divided into two parts, East and West. We were newly married and were living in an apartment in West Beirut. Our apartment was a furnished studio, close to where my late husband worked at the time. It was on the 7th floor of a building and our balcony faced the sea. Our apartment was small and the building had a watchman to kind of prevent gunmen from entering it and committing atrocities.

There was always fighting between the East and the West. Bombs would fall on us and we would wake up in the middle of the night and hurry down to the basement turned shelter. Sometimes we would stay there cowered on the floor for a few nights. At other times we would just spend a few hours there and go back to our flats depending on the intensity of the fighting.

Then one cold winter night we were shaken by the sound of explosions. This time it was different. The whole building shook and the noise was so strong. We didn’t know what it was at first. We could only tell it was different. As usual we hurried down to the basement. We found most of our neighbors there. It turned out that New Jersey the battleship was bombing some target or something up in the mountains.

Thirty years later, the same scenario is being repeated, but this time the target is Syria. Immanuel Kant wrote:

“Space and time are the framework within which the mind is constrained to construct its experience of reality.”

While decades ago the fighting was exclusive to Lebanon now it’s the entire Middle East that is troubled, including Egypt. So what now? What will happen to all those innocent people trying to simply live? What kind of peace if any was achieved all those years? What good did it do then? What good will it do now? In the words of Robert Fisk:

“War is primarily not about victory or defeat but about death and the infliction of death. It represents the total failure of the human spirit.”



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