One of the reasons I wanted to participate in YES Abroad in the first place was that I wanted to break down stereotypes in my community. I didn’t really think that I would also change the way people think about America, but now I’m beginning to realize that it works both ways. Stereotypes will exist wherever I go. One way or another, I will have to work to overcome them, whether they are prejudices that I hold, that people hold against me, or that people hold against someone I know. This is also true for biases and one-sided perspectives.
That being said, if anyone has been following the international news they will be aware of the conflict between Gaza and Israel. It is difficult for me to relate the events objectively because it is such an emotionally charged topic. However, I think it is incredibly important for everyone to look at the crisis objectively in order to work towards a short-term and long-term solution. Talking about this is sticky for anyone if they try to be politically correct. I’ll give it my best effort. My sources are CNN and Al Jazeera (English). Basically, what has happened is this: there was a surge in fighting between Hamas and Isreal. Over a week ago Saturday, Hamas fired a rocket at an Israeli military jeep and injured four soldiers. Last Wednesday, Israel assassinated Hamas’s military chief Ahmad Jabari and began air strikes on rocket-launching sites in Gaza. In this operation, they killed six others, including Jabari’s bodyguard and two children. Gaza and Israel have since been trading air strikes. However, there is a very important, marked difference. Three Israeli citizens were killed (last Thursday) in an air strike. As of today, the death toll in Gaza has passed 100: it is 102 as of this Monday evening. Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba is stationed in Gaza City, and reported that although many Hamas fighters have been killed many civilians have also been killed. Israel is still bombarding Gaza.
Politics are difficult, twisted, convoluted, and diplomatic measures can be difficult to accept. I don’t like to make political statements (particularly on the internet) because I always get the feeling that I might be chased by small children and then beaten with sticks. Therefore I won’t.
In any case, reading news like this makes me feel frustrated and helpless. I am also not to blame for the U.S. government‘s statements on the situation, yet another thing I am not going to voice my opinion on. In contrast, occurances such as this also motivate me to study international relations and conflict resolution in college. I believe in change, and I know I have the ability to improve this world for the better. Although I’m not convinced that I want to become involved in diplomacy or the foreign service as an adult, I do want to work to empower people through education because I believe this helps build peace.
Well, those are my life ambitions in a nutshell.
And now, off to studying. For math. The not-so-fun math, the algebra and geometry which I promptly forgot after being tested on back in freshman year. The math which my grade now depends on. Some days, life does enjoy its little jokes.