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Violence does not create peace and development


When death and fear, sorrow and anger, fills every single information flow we live with – it gets hard to stay balanced and calm. And of course, we need to react. We need to react towards the death and terror, violence and oppression. But we must remain steadfast in our beliefs that all human beings are equal, and that violence and terror does not create peace and development.

That is what we do at IM. But we, too, are challenged now. Voices of despair reach us every day, every hour. From our staff and partner organisations in Palestine. They are afraid. They ask for us to listen and act.

IM has been present in Israel and Palestine since the 1960’s. It was another war that brought us there back then. Another wave of violence and death, and refugees. We did not take sides in the political conflict then and we do not do it now. But we do not want to see more war, more terror, more sorrow, and suffering. We have worked with both Israeli and Palestinian organisations in the region, today we work with Palestinian civil society organisations fighting for democracy, human rights, tolerance, and peace.

But another fire is burning. And again, it seems so very difficult for everyone – from organisations to media, to political parties and persons like you and me – to keep our right not to choose sides. But that is what we must do. Cause it is the terror and violence, war and oppression, we must say no to – not to any particular nationality or religion.

No, you are not islamophobic if you condemn Hamas. No, you are not antisemitic if you condemn the state of Israel’s policy in Gaza.

Now when we need to react, forcefully and immediately, towards violence – we must not be forced into viewing the world in simple black and white. We must not feel forced to choose side.

We need to remain balanced and not demand vengeance, not cry for more violence to fight violence, not believe more terror will combat terror.

In the coming days more people will die in Gaza than in many years. And this is a region and people that has suffered more than almost any other the last decades. More will die than died in Hamas’ massacre.

The feeling of being powerless is overwhelming. We know this will happen but cannot stop it. But we can stand strong in our values that all people are equal. And condemn all violence and terror.

In sadness, suffering and sorrow, we are also equal.

By: Linus Edlund