Keeping Score in the Killing Fields


A week after the world joined together as one to watch the final game of the World Cup, it now joins together, increasingly divided, to watch suffering and the failure of peace. From keeping track of shots on goal and dives, to keeping track of military and civilian A group of youths play football at the deserted streets of the market down of Nabatiyeh, south Lebanon, Sunday July 16, 2006. Sunday brought the fiercest attacks since the conflict erupted Wednesday.casualties, many approach the events of this past week as they did the World Cup. They support their side with nearly blind passion, and hope they score the most points, but forget the deadly game is being played in neighborhoods, train stations, airports, and inside the homes of people who only want safety for their families. Keeping score can obscure this reality.

Each side keeps score of different things for different reasons. For those on the side of Israel, points are scored when innocent Israelis die, for this justifies Israel’s latest military operation. Points are also scored for each air strike. However, points are not subtracted when the air strikes go awry and kill innocent Arabs. Some even think that there are no innocents, and that every “enemy” death is a cause for celebration. Israel’s enemies use the same scoring system, causing us all to lose, and to become increasingly infuriated that in a world with so many technological wonders, brilliant minds, and hardworking people, things keep getting worse.

We keep score so someone can be right, because without right and wrong, justice seems impossible. We don’t know what to think when both sides are so right about their claims to Israel/Palestine, but their actions to secure those claims are so wrong. No wonder we are so eager to compare a few numbers. The talking heads in the “always on” media world will keep score, make claims about legitimate targets and self-defense, but will ultimately miss the reality of the situation. In a tiny but heavily populated corner of the Mediterranean basin, hundreds are dying, thousands are homeless, and millions fear for their lives. These are the numbers that matter most.

If you really need a score, its one to nothing, and peace isn’t winning.


A Muslim Lebanese family reads the holy Quran in a bomb shelter in Tyre, south Lebanon, 16 July 2006. Lebanon's death toll in five days of Israeli bombardments and airstrikes reached 141 by late today, and looked certain to go up as raids continued.



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