Mechanics of Justification
Many moons ago I traveled alone to the Middle East chasing a dream. It may have looked like a crazy idea from the outside, but from the inside I had no doubt it was where I was meant to be and I became captivated by both the land and the people. With the luxury of an Australian passport along with a blissful ignorance of Middle Eastern politics at the time, I floated through two worlds and was warmly welcomed by both Israelis and Palestinians and the memories of my time spent in this ancient desert region reside deep in my heart.
People are often curious when I mention my affection for a place so steeped in conflict and tension. With the history books for millennia outlining perpetual and inconceivable brutalities; it is without doubt a region of polarities and contradictions, a melting pot of traditions, religions and generational trauma. What was I drawn to? It didn’t make any sense. And that is true, some things just don’t make sense, but there I was and there was my heart.
This painting was painted in 2015 and illustrates how as a species we are able to justify almost anything; how we can put on our blindfolds and shield ourselves from the truth, and still be ok with our actions.
When I watch the news today and realize the massive human collective desperately trying not to die, my heart breaks for every innocent soul, for every person who just wants harmony and who is just doing their best to live this experience called life. People just like me, but who were dealt a different hand, a different nationality and a different story to tell. In all my travels I didn’t meet one person who didn’t want peace, but I did meet people who felt it was not possible. I met people who were so emotionally wounded and conditioned to never trust the other. I met people carrying so much hatred and anger over injustices that love could not penetrate their hearts to let go and forgive and the only way forward they could see was by force. But more than anything I met people who felt despair and hopelessness for a situation that had been all they’d ever known.
Now, today with ripples of fear and panic spreading across all oceans, the divide continues and that in itself is just a special type of insanity, where people take sides in the name of peace. And all I want to do is to scream to the rich old men in their fine clothes - the puppets posing as leaders for governments, the banks, the giant corporations and the religious fanatics who are justifying this destruction, to stop fueling an industry where young men, women and children are the pawns, where deluded psychopaths intent on revenge profit, whilst everyone else loses. But I can’t scream loud enough for them to hear me, so I turn off the news and I return to my world in front of me; my world with my problems, of which all seem so insignificant in comparison. And I feel immense gratitude right now for my life, more than I ever have.
When I lie in bed at night listening to the silence, I wish for that peacefulness to reach far across the world. And even though I know it’s not that simple, the heartbreaking thing is that it could be that simple and I think that’s the saddest thing of all.