On October 7th, 2023, members of Hamas, a terrorist organization backed by Iran, launched a surprise attack. This attack involved over 2,000 rockets and drone strikes, resulting in the deaths of over 1,200 Israeli citizens. Hamas also invaded homes and a rave festival, taking hostages and killing those attempting to escape. They threatened Israel with execution for each unannounced air raid. In response, Israel cut off essential resources like power, water, food, and gasoline. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “crush and destroy” Hamas, claiming that every Hamas member was a target. Subsequently, Israel launched a counterattack that resulted in the deaths of over 3,000 Palestinians. A critical factor in this conflict is that Hamas has around 20,000 members, while the population of Palestine is 5.4 million. The Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics reports that nearly 44% of the population is under 18 years of age. This raises ethical questions about bombing civilians and cutting off their supplies when only a small percentage of the population is associated with Hamas.
While the bombs continue to fall from darkened skies, we are left bickering and arguing about who’s to blame. We protest, we preach, we shout, yet human nature always comes to the forefront and we are often left with destruction. Living with that feeling of being helpless is unsettling, frustrating, and uncomfortable. Here I am, nestled beneath a heap of cozy Costco blankets, my $90 Purple pillow cradling my head, while I mindlessly scroll through the events unfolding half a world away. The question gnawing at my conscience: am I, in my comfort, unwittingly contributing to this horror? Even if I were to part with my pillow, liquidate all my possessions, and share the proceeds with those suffering, would my modest contribution ever reach them? Perhaps I could take a more direct approach, standing at the border, preaching against the violence, and solemnly vowing not to break my fast until peace prevails. But, then again I don’t even have a passport. So how can I find a message in all the chaos of war that will somehow benefit you?
After hours of pondering thoughts, the truth is, one simple thing came to my head: fear. The truth is, war is Hell, and its objective is to strike fear into the hearts of the enemy. What would you do if you heard bombs and gunshots in the distance? For those in Chico, it may be a familiar soundscape. But what transpires when that fear no longer holds you captive? It’s then, in that moment, that you become something close to invincible. The truth is, everything that holds you back in this life is fear. Fear of commitment, fear of death, fear of life, fear of failing. In the words of Audrey Hepburn, “The blues are because you’re getting fat, and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?” It’s a sentiment we can all relate to, a reminder that fear, in all its forms, has the power to shackle us in that pit within our souls, making it feel like an endless abyss.
I can’t tell you how to alleviate this fear that resides in all of us. But, what I can do is tell you how I began fighting against fear. I dove head first into that abyss. When my gut, mind, and body said, “no,” there was a tiny voice in my head that said do it. So I did. I was always scared of war, scared of being rejected, scared of intimacy. These fears loomed over me like shadowy figures. War, with its chaos and violence, was a nightmare I couldn’t escape in my thoughts. The fear of rejection held me hostage, preventing me from pursuing my dreams and aspirations. Intimacy, in its vulnerability, was a territory I dared not tread, for the fear of being known and rejected was almost unbearable.
Yet, the voice inside me, that solemn whisper that defied the feeling of doubt, urged me to confront these fears head-on. I embarked on a journey of self-discovery, a pursuit of the unknown. It wasn’t easy, and I stumbled countless times. War became a symbol of resilience rather than a source of dread. Rejection, a lesson in perseverance. Intimacy, a gateway to genuine connection.
As for this war specifically, I hesitate to suggest downloading Telegram to witness the stark realities of this conflict. However, if you’re among the curious few, willing to exchange a measure of sanity for unfiltered truth, I encourage you to download Telegram and subscribe to the channels “Eye on Palestine” and “Israel Times.” Here, you’ll find raw videos and images directly from the source, unfiltered by the lens of CNN propaganda or Fox News’ tirades. These channels provide an unvarnished view of the situation, allowing you to witness the unadulterated truth of what is truly transpiring. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. And for the ones who choose not to go down this route, just remember, the only thing to fear is fear itself and once this point is imprinted on you, you might as well be invincible.