Gaza and my neighbour

Allan Dowthwaite reflects on the human aspect of the Gaza/Israel War with his neighbour for CPX's Thinking Out Loud.

The other day I poked my head over my neighbour’s fence to let him know we were having a party that weekend. We got talking about the headlines, including the horrific scenes playing out in Gaza.

My neighbour is a Muslim and he and his family were just about to start Ramadan. He said it would be tough going this year. 14 hours of daylight, because of daylight savings, would mean a longer time between meals. Still, he hoped it would be a good overall experience for his kids. At least they got to eat at the end of the day. Not everyone could count on that.

It was also around this time that the harrowing image of a skeletal 10-year-old boy, lying in a hospital bed in Rafah, made global headlines. A shocking picture of the human face of the war.

I told my neighbour that, as a Christian, I was embarrassed that so many of my own tribe seemed to back Israel’s actions, seemingly without much consideration for the consequences. Now, I get that this whole situation is extremely complicated and that I’m far from an expert. I just know I was utterly sickened by the Hamas attack on October 7, and I’ve also been horrified by the Israeli government’s response in the months since. I can’t help feeling that the “us” and “them” frame to all this leads nowhere good.

My neighbour responded: “This is not about religion. As a human, I’m embarrassed we let other humans live like that.”

I can’t stop thinking about what he said.

This column first appeared on Facebook

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