One of these words brings up memories that don’t sit well with millions of people the world over with good reason. The other word brings up feelings of hate due to anti-Semitism or just hatred of the arrogance that comes with having to fight for everything the rest of us take for granted including the right to exist. Which when you get right down to it the arrogance is well-earned after managing to survive purges that killed 6 million people who just happened to practice the same religion as the current occupants of Israel.

The word I really want to talk about here is Apartheid. All of the definitions that I found revolved around the same thing and that was racial separation of black and white. Which really doesn’t surprise me since the word is Afrikaans so it stands to reason that there would be a word in that language for this act of separation of the races.  (Apartheid:  (ap-art-hate) – Literally “apart-ness” in Afrikaans, apartheid was the policy of racial separation, and the resulting oppression of the black majority, implemented by the National Party from 1948 to 1990.

The big question we have to ask ourselves is: “Is apartheid what is happening between Israel and Palestine or is it just the self-defense of a small nation, as the Israeli government says, surrounded by countries laced with fanatics that want to wipe them off the face of the world? Don’t get me wrong I don’t agree with how Israel is going about their self-defence. After all how can you keep yourself safe by blockading shipments of food, medical supplies, etc., from reaching a group of people who live in the same place as a group of fanatical people trying to wipe you off the planet. It’s not as if the Hamas’s recruit numbers are going to go down the longer the blockade goes on.  If anything they will probably go up as more and more people start to feel that they have no choice. They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Be killed by Israeli Armed Forces or by the fanatics that run their country. I have yet to figure out how a blockade keeps you safe in the long run when that blockade helps in the increase of people trying to kill you.

 The political climate in the Middle East has never really been a stable place regardless of the century you lived in. The art of war and conquering others was practiced religiously in this region for centuries. After all didn’t Genghis Khan,  Alexander the Great, the English and their religious Crusades and all of the other people in our history that have tried to conquer the world played in this region first before spreading out over the rest of Europe and Asia. With a history like that how do we expect the inhabits that live there now to get along. Some of the grievances they have with each other had to have been passed along in their genes from one generation to another in order to garner so much hate and distrust for each other.  

To this humble writer it isn’t Apartheid that is being practiced in this region. It is a group of people occupying the same area who practice two completely different religions governed by those who think theirs is the only right one. They are both fighting for the right to self-determination and existence. Sound a little familiar to some of you. Picture it: Ireland 1960’s to 1998, you have got to love Sophia (Golden Girls – one of my favorite TV programs).  The Troubles ( in Irish: Na Trioblóidí) a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland. The conflict was the result of discrimination against the Catholic minority by the Protestant majority and Northern Ireland’s status within the United Kingdom,part of England or part of Ireland).  It’s beginning to sound an awful lot like what is going on in Israel and Palestine doesn’t it? The only difference between the two that I can see is that no one used the term Apartheid during the Troubles.

Apartheid is not an easy word and should not be applied lightly to any situation. It should be thought through and not grabbed up in the heat of the moment because once used or said will never be forgotten and cannot be retracted. No the Israeli military should not have boarded a ship in international waters which resulted in the death of innocent people filled with hope and the wish to help. Anymore than England had the right to determine how Northern Ireland, India, the United States, Canada and Australia, etc., should have been governed in the bygone centuries. But we do have to remember one thing. Israel is fighting for its life just like Palestine. There are fanatics on both sides of the wall that is being built that don’t believe that they are wrong in what they are doing. Nor that the other side should exist or live in peace in their own respective countries.  The ordinary citizens in each country needs to say enough is enough just like they did in Northern Ireland. No more senseless killing because senseless is what it is! Haven’t we lost enough of our sons, daughters, fathers, brothers, aunts, uncles, friends and other loved ones? We have had enough! There is no apartheid here just distrust, hate, hurt, sorrow and a seemingly never-ending cycle of violence because one side wants to win at all costs. This is the opinion of this humble writer.

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