"I want to go back to the Middle East where there is peace and quiet!" I said. I can deal with people shooting at me. I just can't deal with my family! When someone tries to blow you up, you have a pretty good idea how they feel about you. But one never really knows what is going on in the hearts and minds of family members, does one?
In Gaza, the Israeli neo-cons are practicing what Augustin Velloso calls, "The Final Solution in slow motion". I'd love to go to Gaza. I could report on that. No problem. Anyone who systematically deprives women and children of food and medicine as part of a national governmental policy is a bad guy. The distinction is clear.
If you blow up women and children on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, you're a bad guy. End of discussion. I can wrap my brain around that.
And in Iraq, anyone who steals oil money, explodes a car bomb or kills women and children obviously has been going to bad-guy school.
But when it comes to spotting the enemy inside of one's own family, I'm lost. And I've always been lost. When my father got back from World War II with post-traumatic stress disorder and had nightmares for years, we loved him anyway even though he put us through hell.
When my older sister beat me up regularly, whose fault was that? Hers or mine? Maybe I was a brat? After all, she got good grades in school and had a freaking paper route. And after she grew up, this self-same older sister refused to sign the papers allowing me to bury my father until I promised to tell her how much money my father left her in his will -- even though she had refused to speak to him for the last seven years because he re-married. "If you marry HER, who will put my children through college," she whined.
When my mother and father lived together in the same small house for most of my childhood and didn't speak to each other all those years, whose side should I choose? Thanksgiving dinners were hell.
Then my middle daughter decided out of the blue that I was no longer worthy of seeing my granddaughter again. How can one deal with THAT?
On the homefront, we have family wars that are like the Middle East in microcosm -- only it's really hard to see who the real enemy is or who is trying to hurt you. One only knows that for some reason something inside of you is bleeding. And you don't know how to call a truce.
Send me back to the Middle East. Please! I can deal with all that. It's the family battles that seem to have no light at the end of the tunnel.
I can understand and deal with "war". It's a guy thing -- like football. I just can't understand and deal with my family!
PS: Feel free to donate to my "Return to Iraq" fund by going to PayPal at https://www.paypal.com/, clicking on "Send Money" and entering firstname.lastname@example.org in the right box. I need to get some peace and quiet right now and Baghdad just might be the answer.
PPS: Here is a photo of my favorite family members.