The Playground

David is a normal kid, he loves to play basketball every chance he got. His most prized possession is his bike. Tommy is David’s neighbor, and even though they both go to the same school and frequent the same places they are not friends. Their relationship consists of constant insults exchanged back and forth. Tommy is a little younger than David and thanks to that at times he gets away with a little more. There has been occasion when Tommy even has thrown rocks at David even hitting him and he is left to just reply back with insults, he feels powerless to stop the abuse.

David has a group of friends that plays basketball with him. He loves playing when his older cousin John is around; he loves to show off his moves to him. They play at the local playground, this playground is not just theirs, other kids like Tommy’s group of friends also like to play basketball there. Tensions always flare when one group want to play there and another is already there, for some reason they chose to never want to share it or even play against each other.

Tommy also has a cousin, his name is Sammy. Like John, Sammy is a little older and they both go to the same high school. It is a rough neighborhood and both Sammy and John have chosen the wrong path. They have recently joined opposing gangs and lately there has been a lot of talk of guns, how to get them, and how useful they would be on settling the dispute over the playground.

David wakes up early in the morning, its going to be a nice day to play ball. As he approaches his bike he sees that his tired seem to be flat. As he gets closer he realizes that not just the air has been let out like it has happened in the past, they are slashed. He has always suspected that Tommy was the culprit of this tasteless prank, but this time his temper is raising and he feels like this is way out of line.

He starts walking down the street and sees that Tommy is sitting on his porch with a couple of other people, he approaches and asks, did you touch my bike. As the other kids laugh and start egging Tommy on he gets up and says to David, “yea I did it and what are you going to do about it?” as he steps and get right in David’s face.

David remembers that his cousin John has been telling him how he needs to stick up for himself, how he cannot just take the high road in every situation. Out of the corner of his eyes he sees his friend John pedaling towards the scene, the laughter, the anger and the need to impress his cousin take over him… he punches Tommy right on the nose knocking him down, as the blood start dripping off his nose the heartbeats from all the young kids start beating so loud that it feels like a drum roll of deafening force is only a preamble to what will come next.

Now change the names of these kids for countries and you will get an idea of how I see the conflict in Lebanon. Say that David is Israel, Tommy is Lebanon, John is the U.S. and Sammy is Syria. That said, I have some questions for you… Do you think that Israel use of force is excessive? Do you think that both Israel and Lebanon are almost like pawns in a game of chicken between Iran and the US? Do you think that religion is at the root of this conflict?

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8 comments on “The Playground

  1. Interesting story. I like the analogy of the playground and everyone fighting over it for their various reasons.

    As I look at the sitatution in the Middle East, I’m not sure what to think. I tell myself, it’s the same conflict that has been going on since Cain and Abel, but that doesn’t provide much comfort. I pray about it and try to figure out what my response as a Christian should be…

  2. This is another example of how Liberal the conflict is described. All I keep hearing is how Israel’s force is too excessive and that the use of power is unbalanced, and how innocent civilians are getting killed. That is what war is. This was not an unprovoked attack. Israel is in peace with its neighbors. It is its neighbors that attacked them. Israel has every right to use its full military might to protect itself and eliminate the threat. The goal is to defeat the enemy with whatever means needed. There is no referees, salary caps, or timeouts. War is not fair and balanced. For Israel to be told that they need to scale back their efforts, cease-fire, and make peace is no different than if the UN would have told us not to do anything about 9/11. Please. So let’s stop the hypocrisy right there.

    This conflict has always been about religion and differences in culture. They both lay claim to a piece of land that is supposed to have some significant value. To an atheist like me, it’s a bunch of senseless violence and death over a useless beach of land that has no real estate value whatsoever. Looking back in history, I can say that I do not support the UN’s resolve to create the state of Israel in the Middle-East. I think it was a mistake to sieze the land and give it to somebody else. Just as it would be if your local government took your land so they could build a new commercial park. Taking from one person to give to another is wrong no matter how you look at it.

    But since it did happen and they are living there, the fact remains that it is their right to defend themselves. So while I do not agree that they should be there, they should be able to assert themselves if provoked. Cease-fires have not worked in the past and they will not work now. If the groups of people cannot get along peacefully, then ultimately one will have to be eliminated.

    Perhaps it’s like the US vs USSR in Vietnam; with us against Iran now. I’ve heard WWIII? Maybe it is time. We cannot put our cultural evolution and well-being on hold because of an idiology thousands of years old. We can live in peace. They can’t. At what point do you say, “Enough is Enough!”

  3. I don’t live there so it really doesn’t effect me personally. Those people are only doing what they’ve known for what they consider 3000 years. At least in this country you can practice your religion of choice about 99% of the time.

  4. Firstly, let me admit that I am definitely no expert in middle east history.

    But it seems to me that Hezbollah called Israel’s bluff one too many times and now they’re facing the wrath of years of pent up anger. And they don’t like it. Hezbollah crossed the line by kidnapping the two soldiers. Israel, I feel, is acting in a justified manner.

    I think all one has to do is look at the flag of Hezbollah and see the gun there, to understand the nature of the group.

  5. I have to admit that I’m no Middle East expert either, but I do agree that countries, people, etc. have the right to defend themselves…especially if turning the other cheek and “taking the high road” doesn’t work. Unfortunately, conflict will always exist between different groups whenever one takes it upon themselves to feel they are superior — even among citizens of the same country.

  6. On the road yesterday I was listening to the BBC. They had an older woman from Lebanon on the air talking about how she felt about the whole situation. She kept blaming Israel for not letting Lebanon live in peace… A middle eastern expert guest then said something along the lines of, “Well, Hezbollah is a terrorist organization.” and the Lebanese woman said, “I do not believe that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization.”

    …and right there I knew how Hezbollah continues to operate. With supplies and money from Iran and Syria, they are using anti-Israel propaganda to fire up the hearts of the Lebanese people. They set up shop in and around civilian buildings so that Israel would kill civilians if it ever decided to defend itself from Hezbollah attacks. Hezbollah prepared for this with lots of propaganda saying that Israel is an evil entity that seeks to kill Arabs–especially civilians.

    So the people are told that Israel wants to kill all Arabs/Muslems and then they entice Israel to respond with force to military attacks from civilian locations. Is it any wonder why Hezbollah continues to gain support from Arabs? Who are they going to believe? The people sending the rockets their way or the folks who fight back at these “evil oppressors”?

    Hezbollah (a.k.a. “The party of God”) is just another group using religion and propaganda to poison the minds of innocent people and entice war upon the very same group they are swearing to protect. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Cold Mountain”, think of the scene where the excited southerners are screaming, “We got our war! We got our war!” Obviously very proud to fight to the death for their righteous ideal of people being allowed to own slaves. They too thought they were making war for all the right reasons. They held up their Bibles proudly and proclaimed that God intended for there to be slaves (the Bible does have several passages that are pro-slavery or at least tolerant of slavery). The Southern Baptist Convention (known today as “First Baptist”) split from the northern Baptists for the very same reasons. Slavery was OK in the Bible so it should be OK in the real world.

    Hezbollah uses the Qu’ran in the same manner. Just like the Bible, it is chock full of horrors: War, slavery, anti-gay messages, anti-gender equality, etc. Once a person is convinced that their religion is the right religion beyond all doubt–Hezbollah can then use it against them. “See, it says right here that unbelievers should be killed and that doing so is the right and just cause of our Jihad.” The believer might question it at first, but upon looking at their sacred texts they will have to make one of two decisions: Either the text is wrong (and therefore fallible) or they must do what their religious beliefs say to do…

    “I have a license to kill -9”

  7. In this situation, like a lot of situations I encounter, it all depends on the outcome. The precursor is not so much as important to me as the conclusion. Precursors can be controlled, but once the damage is done, it’s done.

    I don’t think that right now many Americans are putting themselves into this situation as if they were there. It is difficult for Americans to put themselves in that situation, because we have been sheltered from danger for so long. Other countries are bombed on a daily basis, especially in the Middle East, and we discuss about it frivolously as if the lives of people are merely pawns in a game that we observe.

    That would be the case if America had no Israeli or Lebanese immigrants, but we do. Currently, the lack of empathy for the Lebanese across this nation is extremely detestable to me. It leaves a sour feeling in my stomach that I cannot ignore. Even senator Hagel of Nebraska, a die-hard Republican, said yesterday that “The sickening slaughter on both sides must end and it must end now”.

    I think that years of reports of thousands of innocents in Iraq has made us cold to the pain and suffering of our neighboring countries that are dying at our hands and at the hands of others.

    I think the REAL problem for us is the fact that not enough of us are taking these lives seriously enough. It’s too surreal, until of course, we get bombed like we did September 2001. Where has our humanity gone? Why does our country continue to put up with this bullshit? Why? Because we can buy SUVs, watch t.v., movies, entertain ourselves and spend time with our families peacefully while the world suffers. As long as we can ignore the pain and suffering with consumption, it’s no problem. We can continue to talk about this as if it isn’t real, just like the story you described.

    The people are real. The deaths are real. It must stop! We as Americans should demand peace. We have the power, why not use it for good? Because we elect power-hungry politicians…that’s why. But more importantly, we ARE power-hungry individuals… that’s the TRUE reason why we aren’t doing anything about it and letting Condolezza Rice slip.

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