Tuesday, November 20, 2012


On NPR the other day, in a story about the latest Israel-Palestine events, I heard a soldier say that his philosophy was simple: "When you're kicked, you kick back."

Okay. It does sounds simple. Along the lines of an eye for an eye, I suppose. Not quite the same thing because it describes the loss but not the nature of the aggressive act. Still, both "philosophies" make it sound as though equality is possible. So, there I was, continuing to think about it, and that notion of equality, and I realized that there are all kinds of kicks.There's the astonishingly cultivated and magnificent Bruce Lee kick, as above. If one received a kick such as that, it's hard to imagine being equipped to kick back.
     But, really, there are a whole range of kicks. From the highly athletic

to the sweet and adorable
to the elementary
to the playful
Of course, we know that's not the kind the Israeli soldier meant. But still, one doesn't always kick back. If a three year old kicks an adult, we hope the adult doesn't kick back. Not to equate Palestinians with three year olds--not at all. Just to say that one sometimes moderates one's response, or should anyway, based on circumstances and potential for harm. And sometimes one shouldn't (though it may be very, very hard to resist) kick back at all because restraint may be for the greater good.
     I don't usually dabble in Middle East politics because it's all way more complex and ancient than I can ever hope to understand. But I do think it's worth questioning the idea of "when someone kicks you, you kick back."


Anonymous said...

And finally, and mostly unfortunately lacking in today's world, there will hopefully come a time when wisdom dictates that no one kicks, first or last.

Rose Sigman

Susan Messer said...

And that will indeed be a good day. All the best to you on Thanksgiving and all other days.

Jim Poznak said...

Very well said, Susan. I hope the Israelis, the Palestinians, and everyone else in the world reads this blog post.

Susan Messer said...

Thanks. It's scary to say anything at all in public re: Israel/Palestine.