Monday, July 31, 2006

Hoping Still

I have been reading Israeli, Lebanese, and other Middle Eastern blogs over the last few weeks with an odd mixture of sadness and curiosity about how people from all sorts of different political, religious and cultural backgrounds view and are affected by the current Israeli-Lebanese-Hezbollah conflict. I had been reading many of these same blogs well before the recent violence began, and was encouraged by the way so many bloggers were reaching beyond the barriers, both actual and perceived, in real efforts to communicate and understand each other's worlds.

It's been so disheartening of late to see people who, before the latest war began, had been working so hard to overcome both their own prejudices toward others and the prejudices of others toward them, but who, with the onrush of emotion, anger, and fear that war inevitably brings, have since lost back much of the ground gained to hatred and hardened hearts. The anger and fear are completely justifiable. Who can look on while their world is destroyed and not cry out in anguish? Yet, I pray for them all that this loss of ground is temporary, and the search for understanding among individuals can continue, no matter what governments do.

I recently read a post by an Israeli blogger who puts words to these same types of thoughts, only from a much more personal perspective, since she is in the thick of things, and much more intimately affected by the war, and the threat to relationships she has worked so hard to nurture in the incubator of the Internet. She includes a link to a Jordanian blogger, which I will also include here. These people are not only on the ground, watching the world turned upside down around them, but can speak about what it was like before the fighting began. Through their blogs, they have shared from their own experience what it is like to try to form bonds which the rules of culture, politics, and even religion declare to be forbidden, or at least in bad taste, and despite the obstacles find bonds with people that manage to get beyond all those things which make that connection seem impossible. Now they are also sharing what happens when the unthinkable descends upon them, and all their effort seems futile and hopeless. What is amazing to me is how some of these cross-cultural bloggers, these everyday folks living their lives as the world spins out of control, even now find the ability to hope for better things, for better understanding, and for the connections they have made, despite boundaries, to survive, despite war. I feel privileged to be able to glimpse inside their realities, and see these people who dared to hope, and to seek "the other" in the first place, dare to continue hoping still. The hope is battered, beyond question, but it is not defeated.