Unfortunately, unlike Eric Schwartz, I have never had the "privilege" of experiencing true terror. I have never been subject to extreme violence (if any violence is not extreme) and have always felt safe wherever I've lived. I consider myself blessed by this fact. My heart goes out to the residents of the greater metropolitan area of Washington, D.C., and the fear that they must live with every waking moment. I pray for their safety.
My heart also goes out to the Israeli who lives in fear every day of his life. I cannot fathom riding a bus or going shopping with the constant possibility of being blown up by a desperate, hopeless suicide bomber. I doubt these men, women, and children count themselves "privileged" to live in true terror.
And once again, my heart goes out to the despairing Palestinians. I cannot fathom sitting in my home, wondering if I'll ever leave it again. I cannot fathom expecting my home to be hit by an Israeli missile at any time. I cannot comprehend how it must feel to be a Palestinian mother whose five-week-old twins are stuck in their home without food under an Israeli-imposed curfew. I doubt this mother counts herself "privileged" to live in true terror.
As free Americans, and especially as blessed and/or privileged Americans, we have problems with the month or so of terror in Maryland. How can we even compare that to the fear and absolute, sheer terror of living in such an environment for years, even decades as the Palestinians have done? It is certain that there is a long and detailed political and quasi-religious history behind the problems in Israel, not the least of which is the violation of the human rights of the occupied Palestinian people. Certainly, this is neither the time or the place to address those issues.
However, I would like to end with Schwartz's concluding paragraph, slightly modified:
"Not until we as a community step forward from isolation and speak out against the crimes against humanity throughout the entire Arab (and Israeli) world will an Israeli (or Palestinian)--Muslim, Christian or Jewish--ever be free."