Would you, Would I?

Maximus

Since this is my first stab at a blog, I thought I would start off with a non-divisive topic that would gain general acceptance by all.  So what’s more unifying that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  In addition, I am also not very sure of the rules around blogs and using images from movies and other copyrighted material.  However, if they want to sue for my first post, then at least the lawyers viewing it will add to my site traffic.

In the above scene of Gladiator, Quintus, not sure if that’s how you spell his name but who cares since in the movie he is kind of an unhelpful side character and General Maximus are standing in front of a Barbarian horde whom seem quite up for a fight despite being surrounded by Roman legions and Russell Crowe’s dog.  Quintus responds to General Maximus saying, “People should know when they’re conquered”, to which Maximus responds “Would you Quintus?  Would I?”  If you have never seen this movie then that’s to your detriment.  For this movie also holds the quote, “What we do in this life echoes in eternity.”  Consequently, if you haven’t seen this movie then your eternity is apparently filled with subpar movies.

The wisdom of this statement seems to indicate that Maximus had respect for the opposing force and recognized that this doomed force is no more willing to lay down and die than he.  As a Marine, I have a great amount of appreciation for this sentiment.  After serving in Iraq, and traveling to different parts of the world, I have come to realize that the average citizen or warrior of a foreign nation is almost never the caricature that our star spangled militaristic patriotism likes to paint them as.  Rather, they are on average good people just wanting to live their lives and support their families.  Now this is not to say that evil forces do not exist.  The current ISIS inspired Caliphate in Iraq and the Boko Haram militia in Nigeria all seem like really bad people for whom I presume 15 minutes in a room with Marine General Mattis would make the best Youtube video ever.

So on to the topic at hand, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Now let me go ahead and clarify, that I support Israel.  I support their right to defend themselves.  They are surrounded by people whom would inflict massive casualties if given the chance.  However, lets be honest about one fact.  The Palestinians are a conquered people.  With the establishment of the Israeli state after World War 2, many Palestinians were uprooted from the only homes they have ever known and told to make way.  So they and many surrounding states waged war on Israel and they lost.  The Palestinians lost the war, and subsequent wars, and subsequent days of rage as they call them and were conquered.  So fast forward to today, my question is simply, when were they supposed to know it?

Now the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more than a single blog post can contain.  However, I just want to pose the reflection to a Country, most of whom support Israel as I do, that what is it exactly we are asking the Palestinians to do?  Are we, like Quintus, asking them to simply know when they have been conquered?  Make no mistake, Hamas and other players for the Palestinians have committed some pretty heinous acts.  However, Israel seems to be less than content with the land they were originally given at the State’s founding and seem to be playing the long game of expanding settlements to solidify these gains.  For while much of the plight of the Palestinians is a result of failed strategy on behalf of their leadership, I can’t help but wonder how much of this failed strategy results from a failure to realize they have been conquered.

Imagine if you will, a supreme Alien race coming to the world, recognizing what a raw deal the American Indians got and with their ray guns and probes, forcing all of American back to the original 13 states.  At what point is it exactly that Americans would recognize they are conquered and cease any resistance?  How exactly am I to feel when my neighbor in Tennessee fires back at the Aliens and their Alien rockets take out my house too with my wife and children.  Is it possible that given my loss that I might fail to recognize we have been conquered and take up arms myself?  Just some thoughts for consideration.

Again, I support Israel simply because I view them as a better choice and better ally for American in the region.  I think they can accomplish a greater good.  But at least I am honest about it.  Supporting Israel for some other reason than some confused biblical mandate perceived by Americans allows me to equally support the plight of the oppressed.  I feel no need to give Israel a blank check with my conscience.  Rather, I can support their right to defense while simultaneously having compassion for the plight of the Palestinian people.  Not Hamas, the Palestinian people.   Make no mistake about it,  the average Palestinian is oppressed.  Their lives would indeed be better if they simply realized they have been conquered.  However, I pose the final question, would you or would I?

Jeff Edwards