This is a response to Bashir Bekka’s beautiful text which I feel almost bad for ruining. The talks about emotions and a real experience of violence. Something to which I can relate (even if from the other side of the spectrum [if I am really there]) As I promised him (and got his consent on) this text will be dry and rational.
Firstly Bashir talks about justice, I hate this concept (not in general but in the specific context). What is justice? How can we make justice and why would we want that? Justice to what? To some past and pure configuration where the other didn’t exist? Let’s just eliminate the problem and it will all be good. And what is the difference between justice and revenge? To restitute the situation to an original configuration where “justice” ruled without the unbalance of the intruding power, is it not the same as to return to a state of un-harm and therefore the same as matching the harm until we reach a “zero” state? Don’ they both demand the same restoring power/violence? Aren’t justice and revenge just both a perverse way of repaying? And isn’t repaying just eliminating something?
Let’s hug each other and forget this ever happened. One day we will reach justice and it will all be clear. We will be friends under one sole narrative of peace and love; it reminds me of the pictures of Arafat and Rabin smiling and shaking hands. Why are they happy about it? Why can’t they just reach an agreement and hate it at the same time? The agreement doesn’t have to be good or just. It can only be an agreement. An end to the conflict is good enough.
To paraphrase Amos Oz, we don’t need a shakespearean tragedy where everybody dies and there is justice, Cherkov is good enough. Let’s just hate each other to death without killing each other.
In fact that is true respect. Darwish knew that when he commented on Amichai being a challenge to him. He wasn’t a challenge because he was shit. He was a challenge because he was good, so good that Darwish saw the love for that land in Amichai (perhaps even the same love he wrote) and that challenged him because he could not dismiss it. He had to hate it because it would not go away and that bothered him. He was not jealous of it. Amichai had to be hated because he was true and Darwish knew that. He knew that you cannot hug that problem away. He knew that you cannot hold both voices or turn them into one. He knew he needed Amichai and he could not destroy him or dismiss him and he hated him for that. His hate is perhaps the greatest respect Amichai ever received.
Conflict resolution is not about eliminating problem. It is about putting a final point to it. A tragedy does not end when everything is perfect. It ends when the actors stop acting regardless of all the feelings in that scene.