I'm not restricted, nor occupied, nor landless. I have not lost a loved one to falling rubble or fire from above. I write this rolling in the privileged luxury of clarity, unfettered by tragedy. Yet I try my best to do it with deep empathy and an understanding that I will never truly understand what I think I know. I do this as a concerned friend finally forced to bluntness. I know it's unfair. I know that you're angry. But things have to change. No no, don't say anything. Listen. There will be no retribution. No trial for war crimes. No glorious revenge against the infidels. Please don't. Don't say it again. They are not going anywhere and what is done is done. I know it's unfair but there is no changing it. You must accept. They are bigger and stronger than you. And because of circumstances you helped create they have the world's tacit support to do what they do. Stop. Just stop. We are past who did what to whom. Open your eyes. Swallow the bitter pill. Accept. You have to. It won't get better until you do. Please. The wall around you grows bigger as you uselessly bang your head against it. I wonder what your life could have been like. Those that hurt you today can only do so because you give them an excuse. They are scared. But they can be reasonable. You have to see it. You have no other choice. The hardest of them are in charge only because it seems that they are needed. Give them peace, let them see a neighbor, and the mongering voices of their extremists will sound silly against the quiet backdrop. They will fade from power, and the moderate voices will be heard, and be voted into power, and be more willing to give you what you need. It's the only way.
And you, brother. What sad irony this is. By trying to be strong you make yourself into what you fear most. The victim turning villain. You put a thousand new photos on the wall and think that's where they'll stay. That it will make you safer. That it won't grow and fester and harden. Myopic. Short-sighted. Cruel. Trying to beat sense into someone already battered. Is that strength. No it's hubris. Never has force defeated time. Ever. Have you become addicted to this state, this masquerade of power dressing as necessity. Be careful. Look around you. There are cracks in the once unanimous support. Even your closest friends now carefully choose their words. Nationalism and blind loyalties are out of fashion. Open minds and anti-bullying are in. The arc of history usually bends towards justice and you have used up all your free passes. Your actions are beginning to be viewed unfiltered. Beware of being left alone. Now even your brother can see the faces of the photos on the wall.
This piece originally appeared on HeadSpace