“Over the years people got used to the attacks,
and slowly drag things into bomb shelters year after year,
creating the nominal comfort”
Leonid Yuzefpolsky, Tel Aviv
For some war is geopolitical game, but not for the people living in conditions of war. “Bad peace is better than good war”, Roman politician and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero used to say. While politicians build and embody military strategies, whole nations are living in constant fear, are massively killed or maimed, economy and infrastructure destroyed, a lot of money wasted on something that is intended to bring death. Time of human life is slipping away with no peace in it.
Unfortunately, history gives us many examples when generations of people lived all their lives in the “territory of war.” The longest wars were 335-year war between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly archipelago, part of the United Kingdom, and the “Hundred Years War” between England and France. Military conflict between ancient Sparta and Athens lasted 73 years, Punic War between Rome and Carthage – 43 years … A lot of armed conflicts flared up periodically, with so insignificant interruptions that peace, not war, was seen as something unusual. How do people live in such terrible conditions?
With time, humans get used to and calmly accept even the most stressful situations; this is psychological protection, a condition of survival. But adaptation to the conditions of war, as well as reverse adaptation to peace, are extremely complex and can be very long-lasting. Civilians, living far away from the line of fire or seeing only the echoes of war, usually have more time to get used to war. But for those who took part in the hostilities the forecasts are disappointing. According to some experts, about 38% of the soldiers who participated in the battles become patients of psychiatric hospitals because of variety of mental disorders. Moreover, the percentage of such diseases since the World War II has been steadily increasing.
One of hopes that allow overcoming the situation psychologically is the belief that the war will soon end. But what about those who were born in the territory of war, and have seen its consequences for all their lives, and count it as normal? Let’s consider the state, brutal wars in the territory of which existed since ancient times. State that is situated at the crossroads of cultures, nations and beliefs. Some people deny that it can be called a country, and some deny its right to exist. Let’s try to estimate the life of civilians in Israel without prejudice, considering that neighboring Arab countries have declared war on it in 1948, immediately after Israel’s official formation.
After the defeat in the World War I the Ottoman Empire seized to exist and the fight for the territory of Palestine broke out with renewed vigor. In the second quarter of the twentieth century the conflict was exacerbated by religious and cultural aspects, and with the creation of a separate state of Israel, the country received enemies instead of neighbors. Since then, the Israeli and Palestinian people are living in a state of perpetual threat and eternal dismay – haradot. Let’s leave aside the question who is right and who is wrong, and will focus on how people live in these areas.
“We should cut down old and tall trees.
We can grow only stunted cultures.
We are ordered to dismantle sheds or they will be bombed.
It is dangerous to work in the field – they shoot any time.
For seven months seven neighbors were killed.
They came with tanks and destroyed irrigation system.
For no reason. They shoot in the morning too.
Four days in a row they are shooting at our house”
Safat, Gaza (quote from the book of Nadezhda Kivorkina “Palestine. Resistance”)
Even women undergo military service in the army of Israel, every new house has a bomb shelter, residents know exactly how long it takes from the beginning of the siren until the fall of the rocket, and the children in kindergartens know the rules of conduct during the bombing. Despite the fact that most of the missiles are destroyed by Israel, shell fragments can wound those who remained in the street. In particularly “hot” regions air-raid signals sound every 10 minutes, business life stops because there is no possibility to work if people are constantly running away to the shelter. Shards of missiles are lying on the flowerbeds … but the Israelis rebuild everything again and again. In opposition to enemies and war.
“… Sometimes it real horror because you know
that Arab countries surround you and
it’s a sacred duty for the people living there to destroy the Jews.
You live and then you remember that the real war goes on,
where every day people are dying,
and you have a feeling that you wake up in a nightmare … “
Olga Libenson, Beer Sheva
But why don’t they leave the country? There are so many answers. People get used to such a life, it is their homeland. Despite the danger, many feel protection from the state, alarming system works well; people know how to react in emergency situations, the damage from missiles is compensated. It is also important that the state allocates a lot of money for the development of science and education, the level of development of medicine is also high. Israel is a high-tech country with stable market economy, and despite the constant war threats some say that life there is still better than back where they came from. People believe that there would come happier times; that the war will end.
And yet, frantically grab children and run for cover several times a day, be afraid that tomorrow the rocket hit your home, worry whether your country exists in 10 years is not the best scenario for life. But judging by the fact that this scenario exists for decades, it remains profitable for some and therefore continues to evolve. And even if the Palestinian-Israeli agreement is reached, it will not mean the end of the conflict because they say that the Arabs flatly refused to ever acknowledge the existence of the Jewish state.
“Everyone understands that we have such
a country – keep calm, only calm”
Victoria Young-Paltilova, Kiryat Gat