By Emily Stonehouse
I’m supposed to write about the things that happen in our community.
But this week, as I kept my head down and dove into the happenings in our town, I felt the pull of distraction from the online world.
I find a lot of my news via social media. I read events that are going on and receive notifications for upcoming stories. But as I scrolled through to see what I could cover this week, I kept skipping past news about Israel and Palestine. It was everywhere.
“No, I can’t read this,” I would say to myself. “My mental health can’t handle it.” “I’ll read up on it later.” “Not now.”
Like the most significant escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in decades was an inconvenience to me.
But I couldn’t turn it off. Finally, when I had the privilege of giving my mind some space to process the stories, I dove in.
I took it in small pieces. Because we all know that wars have happened for centuries around us, but this constant inundation of media surrounding the conflict can feel like drowning. If you too needed space to process, that’s okay.
And I am not going to take this column to dive into the thousand-year history of this war. One, because this is not the platform to educate you. I strongly encourage everyone to take some time to do your own research from a variety of sources to understand better.
And two, because I don’t fully understand it myself. I will be the first to admit that I need to do more research, need to talk to more people on the reasoning, the reckoning, the “reality”.
It’s not my place to share my stance on something I can’t completely comprehend.
But what I can offer is my observations. While there is an apparent enemy in the conversations, there seems to be some debate about who deserves what. And I think the root of that debate is grounded in misinformation, uncertainty, and fear. I understand that it’s the role of political organizations to pick a side. But what often happens when parties lean into powers, is that people fall through the cracks.
So here is my simple observation: no civilian deserves to be killed. And considering there has been no formal political statement made in solidarity with all civilians, the blanket promises about protecting and preserving human rights are null.
And while all civilian life is important, the mass genocides that have occurred as this conflict has graced our social media screens just doesn’t seem to be as prevalent. It’s a well known fact that national politicians have quashed Canadians from organizing peaceful demonstrations to Free Palestine; a shout out to the deeply rooted and racially-charged fear that swirls at the surface of allowing a group of Muslims to gather.
That political fear didn’t seem to exist when the white supremacy-led convoy stopped traffic across the country, or an anti-trans march stormed towards our public schools to spew their rhetoric to all who would listen; initiatives that carried legitimate threats towards marginalized populations and community sanctity.
So if you too are feeling the pull of distraction from what’s happening in the world, maybe it’s time to listen to that call. Look beyond the corners of our community, and address the tug of human connection that tethers us together.
Because while some of us do have the privilege to put our heads down, that won’t stop us from the reality of the world we live in.