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  • Writer's pictureChristopher McHale

MY SILENCE IS NOT COMPLICITY

The demand to take sides is a reflection of people’s deep need for affirmation.



I’ve grown weary of people writing ‘your silence is complicity.’ I’ve seen it from both sides of this horrible violence currently taking place in the Middle East.


My silence is a refusal to support either side. I am anti-war. I’ve marched against my own nation’s flag. I’ve marched against any nation’s flag who chooses violence. I will most certainly march against Hamas and rightists in Israel in equal measure. They both have blood on their hands and it is not up to me to wash it off.


Wars don’t just happen. They simmer for many years. They are signposted with entrenched attitudes, bias, small acts, one side dehumanizing the other. The battlefield is prepped by corrupt politicians and it’s plainly obvious that corruption is on both sides in this bloody edition of the Israel/Gaza war.


You will never convince me war is inevitable. War is avoidable. Always. It takes a radical commitment to peace.


I seen no such commitment on either side. I’ve seen arrogance tainted with religious destiny. A toxic stew. A guarantee of war, not peace. I’ve seen proxy prayers, and dark mullahs, I’ve seen ancient dirt claims and tribal wounds carefully nourished with fear.


Who dies in this war? Everyone but the leaders.

The leaders are the only winners, because ultimately this is a struggle for power by old men. It always is. Ever and forever.


Don’t buy this as an acts of aggrieved vengeance. Justified. Necessary. Survival. It is none of that.


Why?


Because actions were not taken by leaders to avoid war, actions were taken to provoke it.


Why do that?


Why would any leader craftily lead a people’s toward conflict? 


Survival, yes, their survival.


War is a great buttress against things that would cost a leader power. War makes so many things easier. The people do what they’re told. The propaganda flows like mothers milk. The speeches write themselves. The statues get chiseled. Photo ops with young soldiers are gold. War is a gift to leaders. To the rest of us?


Dismemberment. Death. Sorrow.

Do you like it now I’ve broken my silence? Will you come after me with with your passionately honed bias? Your rules? Your justification? Your history? Your facts? Your hate?


If my silence is complicity it’s complicit in peace, not war. War serves no purpose for me. I will never choose a side. You might as well stand me against a wall and shoot me. Why not? So many are dead already, whether I keep my silence or not. What do you care about my silence? It certainly doesn’t stop your violence.


But my silence seems offensive. Why is that? A man standing here and watching you not saying anything? Not waving your flag? Perhaps judging you? Why do you need my pat on the back? Isn’t your cause so unquestionably righteous?


Do me a favor. Don’t wag your finger at me. Don’t admonish my silence as complicit. Just ignore me and pick up your gun and get back to killing people. That’s your main focus. You’re at war. Bomb. Blow shit up. Make heroes and villains. Take your orders and march. I’m going home to make myself a sandwich. Call me when you’re done.


Your rants are gory affirmation.


You accept that about yourself and leave me alone.f

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