August 18, 2014 by Brian
Sometimes, being a better man requires us to be educated, instead of ignorant, on certain issues. There were times in our history where regular guys discussed and debated the important cultural/political issues of the day during, and after, the dinner meal, at bars, in the office, etc.. Men made it a point to stay in-the-know about such things in order to participate in the conversation. We still discuss and debate today, but it is largely limited to sports, leaving the important philosophical discussions to the talking heads on TV.
One of the most significant events in the world today is the war between Israel and Hamas (and other radical groups). Most Americans have really no idea what the conflict is about, which makes it hard to know how to feel about it, or interpret the situation. Lack of understanding makes it nearly impossible to explain the crisis to your kids (or spouse). And, men usually respond to things they don’t understand with indifference.
How many Americans (non-Jewish) know where Gaza is located on a map? Or, how the state of Israel came into being? Or, the geographical make-up of Israel internally, and in the context of the middle-east? Or, what are the two sides fighting about? Most guys don’t know much about it, and have two instincts as a result. The first is “Those people have always been fighting, and always will be. There is nothing that will ever change it.” And, the result of that thinking leads most of us to feel like “It’s far away, doesn’t impact me, and there is nothing I can do about it anyway.”
Politicians almost unanimously tell us that Israel is our strongest ally, and that Hamas is a terrorist organization. Yet, celebrities influence their followers with short tweets ending in #StandwithIsrael or #FreePalistine. Without being educated yourself, one might assume that both sides are equal. Or, you may think that it must be too complicated to understand because no one seems to be able to solve it.
We watched a video by Dennis Prager that claims that the Arab/Israel problem is “Easy to Understand, Difficult to Solve.” You can check it out here:
It isn’t hard to imagine that the discussion that followed was interesting. We discussed everything from the British handling of the situation pre-1945, all the way through the current times. We talked about the crusades, the native americans, the witch trials, women’s rights, the slaughter of christians in Iraq and Syria. Even the biblical call to be on the side of Israel. Indeed…it seemed like we covered just about everything. Unfortunately, what was almost as true at the end as it was in the beginning is the knowledge of what we – guys in Ormond Beach – are supposed to do this week as a result.
Ultimately, being aware that educating ourselves is important might have been the most common take-away by the men in the room. Others felt the call to push-back when they encounter people who are indifferent, or giving moral equivalency to both sides.
Let the conversation begin….