Three months of writer's block
I have written thousands of words since October 7th. But like many of you, I have struggled for enough clarity amidst the horror and heartbreak to find what feels true and useful enough to share. One of the promises I have tried to keep in my writing here is to avoid pure diagnosis because there is plenty of analysis in the world and too much of it is disconnected from response, from the paths from diagnosis to cure. But what happens when crises resist cures?
My struggle — like many of yours the last few months I suspect — has made it difficult to think about or work on or write about anything else. Right now, all I have to offer is this: historical analysis, two-state conversations, long-term solutions, concepts of nationstatehood, and indigenous claims cannot be confronted until the killing and violence stops. There is too much trauma and death and pain for almost anyone to engage in these conversations that require so much empathy and that demand so much respect for the nuance of history and the complexity of the future.
So for now…
Hamas should return the hostages and stop firing rockets into a civilian population — people should not be weaponized.
Israel should stop indiscriminately killing civilians in an attempt to eliminate a terrorist organization from within an embedded civilian population — people should not be weaponized.
Terror and weaponized sexual violence against a civilian population are not valid tools of revolution. Displacing, dehumanizing, and indiscriminately killing people you largely control (regardless of historical context) as known collateral damage and rendering a difficult place to live unlivable are not valid tools of self-defense.
Wrath is not a strategy. Historical inhumane acts do not justify the inhumane acts of 10/7 do not justify more inhumane acts. Suffering — chronic or acute — should not be compared or invalidated and is not justification for or a path to clear moral action. The world gets less just and less safe when conflicts of any kind are made more violent, more militarized, and more deeply rationalized in more existential terms.
The time for the work of healing and long-term solutions will come. For now, we need to stop hurting people until everyone can find the space to breathe.