My Enemy

Last night we started dropping bombs on Syria.
Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others have joined us in the effort to destroy ISIS.
Civilians will die.
Civilians are dying.
Countless civilians have already died.
We will train “moderate rebels” to be our ground forces.
This will take a year.
What will happen in that time?
Who else will die?

Israel drops bombs on Palestine.
Palestine fights back.
We were born into this.
We have never seen the beginning of war.
It’s all we’ve ever known.

We watch it on TV, and change the channel
because we don’t want to see.
But it’s still there, somewhere.

Countless little countries whose names we’ll never know;
who we’ll never bother with because they’re not a trade partner
or a threat,
fight each other;
fight tyranny;
fight against themselves.

Here in America it’s a constant game of checkers
with our present
and our past.

We pretend we’re sophisticated.
We pretend we’re above it.
We hold conventions
and make movies
and write stories,
But somewhere there’s a riot.
Somewhere there’s a protest gone wrong.

Somewhere a white man has killed a black boy.
Somewhere a mean man yells and beats his wife.
Somewhere a straight man breaks his brother’s heart.

And someone somewhere is alone.
In every high school it’s the same.
There are the ones who hate each other
and the ones who hate themselves.

There are those who feel alone
and those who are constantly told.
“Kids are cruel,” they sometimes say
and write it off.
They won’t read between the lines.

History is the great master of bitter irony.
It’s hard to deny that the nicest men,
the one’s who want the world at peace:
John Lennon
Martin Luther King Jr.
Christ,
are the first to die.

Someone once asked Jesus,
who is my neighbor?
who is my brother?

And Jesus told him.
Our brothers are the ones fighting far away.
Our brothers are the ones we’ll probably never see
and never agree with.
Our brothers are the ones who, like us,
need love.

But we fight in the name of God.
We fight about semantics.
We fight about technicalities.
It doesn’t make sense.

Forgive the people.
Don’t forgive the deeds.
People are wrong.
People are human.
It’s all a matter of degrees.

The Buddhists believe that one should never harm a living thing.
One should love the least of these.

But the rhetoric is wrong.
We say we have to fight for peace.
We talk about what it will take to destroy the enemy.
Destroy,
break down,
eradicate;
these are people we’re talking about,
and I have no enemy.

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