So the night before last I woke up around 12:30 am. Normally my wife is jealous of me for being able to go back to sleep at the drop of a hat. For example, the night I dreamed a huge spider was hovering over our bed and woke up immediately, jumped over her, and turned on all of the lights in the bedroom. Once I realized that I was just dreaming, I turned off the lights, told her everything was okay, climbed back in bed, and was asleep in a matter of moments. (She, however, was awake for hours after that.)
Unfortunately, the night before last was not one of those for me. I woke up and stayed awake for a while. My mind was racing. I was, in my own way, trying to solve all of the world’s problems. What I most remember is thinking about what I would do with Iran, Israel, and Lebanon if I were a world leader with diplomatic leverage. I do not know what I would do if I were actually a world leader – I’d never sleep!
It is popular in my little portion of the world to be in favor of Israel. The biblical tribes of Israel are God’s chosen people, and we affirm that today’s Jews are descendants and heirs of the people and the promise. It is fashionable to believe that God has a plan, that nothing humanity can imagine or do can thwart that plan, and that means that Israel must exist, must expand to its biblical borders, and must survive intact to the end of the world.
It is a popular belief.
But there is nothing in me that can believe that God is honored by Israel’s actions. Tony Blair and George Bush stand firmly that Israel has a right to defend itself, and I agree that the Israeli government has a responsibility to insure that its citizens are safe. And I recognize that Israel has been terrorized since its foundings, and that it is surrounded by people that are hostile to its very existence. And I recognize that history as it has been recorded has a way of treating Hebrews and Jews that way.
But I ache for Lebanon. For a people that seemed just last year to finally decide to take their destiny into their own hands and work toward their own goals and ambitions apart from autocratic leaders. For a people who have spent years recovering from a civil war, rebuilding, restarting, renewing. For the children and parents, teenagers and ambitious adults who had made great plans.
It has all been ripped away from them in a matter of days while the international community has sat back and watched it happen. What will happen to them now? What legacy have we started building in Lebanon? If this is not World War III starting as early commentators suggested, is it not the seed of it?
I didn’t come to any answers before I went back to sleep. And the problems linger.