Trying to make sense of the Israel-Hamas war

Journalists are often expected to know a little about everything.

Regardless of the subject matter, if there’s a major event happening in the world, it’s been this reporter’s experience that sooner or later some will ask for the perspective from someone ‘in the business’ so to speak. It doesn’t matter if that particular journalist only has a focus for community news. And so with that preface, this reporter will humbly admit to being extremely ignorant as to what is going on in the Middle East right now.

Upon trying to do some research one thing is clear, it would appear there’s quite a few Canadians and people around the world who aren’t really sure either. Several websites and articles offer up their expertise on how to explain it in simple terms, but this is a subject that can’t be broken down into a Coles’ Notes version. In short, it’s quite complicated and far from black and white.

Like any subject, anything read on the internet needs to be taken with a grain of salt-but articles on this particular issue require more inward reflection than most topics. At the risk of dumbing down a very serious issue, trying to determine the ‘good guys’ compared to the ‘bad guys’ isn’t exactly cut and dry. One thing that is indisputable is this: both the initial attack and the response have resulted in the loss of innocent lives, including children. Several others have been displaced by the attack. Regardless of the reasoning behind firing rockets into residential areas, the loss of life should never be taken lightly, especially when the people in the line of fire have virtually no say on the matter. These children were in the right place (their own home) at the wrong time. For those who lost loved ones, the issue of who is right and who is wrong means nothing.

One spokesperson within the Israeli army was quoted as saying Hamas’ attack was akin to the attacks of 9/11 in the United States. Reuters noted the assault was the worst break of Israel’s defences since the conflict broke out, a span of over 70 years, with over 1,200 people reportedly killed. Unsurprisingly, both sides have their reasons explaining why they feel their actions are justified. At the end of the day, innocent lives are being lost and people are living in fear in their own homes. That in itself should not be forgotten and never deemed an ‘acceptable’ part of war.

Trying to weigh in on a sensitive matter can be intimidating because even just referring to a particular section of a map by a certain name can be controversial in the wrong circles. Trying to syphon through 70 years of history to decide who is in the right is complicated to say the least. There’s also an inevitable feeling of helplessness as there’s very little the average Canadian citizen can do to make an actual impact on the happenings overseas. If nothing else, it can reaffirm the feeling that though our country may have its own issues, we should feel incredibly fortunate to live where we do.

-Adam Prudhomme

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