Why I’m withdrawing from the Middle East

Overload. No Exit. (Hell.)

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What do these headlines mean, and what do they mean for me?

“Lebanese Army captures 2 border outposts from Islamists.”  “Egypt is becoming an expanded cult.”   “ISIL forces Iraq’s Palestinians to flee again.”  “Can Hadi lead Yemen out of crisis.”  “Barrel bombs are Assad’s weapons of terror.”  “Yazidis battle ISIL.”  “Sunni boycott threatens reconciliation efforts in Iraq.”

Why is my head filled with words such as Taliban, Al Queda, mullahs, fatweh, Aleppo, Boko Haram, Peshmerga, jihad, niquab, hijab, Islamabad, Swat.  Why can’t I still figure out the bad blood between Sunnis and Shiites and should I care?

I’m a current events addict.  I like to feel a member of my lifetime and participate in the world I live in.  I enjoy the 24/7 news cycle, and love that the internet allows me to choose my news instead of a network deciding what to fit in a half hour.  I love reading updates and analyses in a variety of media.

But lately, my head has exploded.  The Middle East is everywhere, it’s everything.  It’s every other phrase in the news and in conversation. I read and listen and read and listen.  Nothing becomes clearer, it becomes more complicated, violent, hopeless.

They are killing each other over there and trying to draw the rest of the world into the mire.  I am appalled at the human suffering caused over the disagreement of the word: god.

One thing I know for sure:  true, Biblical-level evil is present in the form of ISIS.  Beheadings, burnings, raping, mass slaughter and destruction, human misery — in the name of Allah?

To learn that ISIS militants burned over 100,000 manuscripts spanning centuries of human learning? I wept  yesterday when when I saw the video of these 3000 year old, priceless Assyrian statues being smashed by ISIS in a Muslim museum in Mosul. Entire villages enslaved and pillaged.  What century are we in?

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I’m tired about criticism about the United States.  The world complains that the U.S. is a bully, stepping in where they have no business, to try and fix things.  But when the United States does nothing, people ask, “Where is the United States, why aren’t they doing something?

A life is but an accident of birth.  And it is time I turned my attention to mine.   I will still be compassionate to the suffering.  I will give $$ to women’s causes I believe in.

I want to focus on what’s good in my civilization, my personal experience.  I want to think about Beethoven and Mozart.  I want to sip a chocolade at Sprungli,  finish my novel, learn to knit better and ride the Bernina express.

If you have any suggestions for why I should remain engaged in the MiddleEastConflict (one word now) speak now. Otherwise, I’m turning my attention to Paris Fashion Week.

xo Liza

 

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4 thoughts on “Why I’m withdrawing from the Middle East

  1. I think the main problem with all this overload of information is that we can’t grapple with the amount of hatred it embodies. Our imaginations fail us when we try to think of any possible reason for people to take sledgehammers to priceless historical objects or sharp knives to another human being’s throat. all on camera, of course. We most definitely can’t come up with a “solution” to TheMiddleEast. Better brains than ours have tried and, so far, failed. So, yes, I think we shouldn’t feel we haven’t done our part if we collectively decide to just tune out the chatter, at least for a while. It doesn’t mean we underestimate the seriousness of it all, it just means we can’t do a thing abou it.

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