“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”
The turmoil in the Middle East leaves us all worried and bewildered. On one hand the events are new and frightening, yet on the other hand, the hostages being held . . . the leader’s meetings . . . and armed men gathering in the deserts, the seas, and now the air, are old, old stories.
In fact ever since the beginning of recorded history, that area has been the site of violence, with the first recorded murder, Cain killing Abel, taking place right there.
Then go on through the Old Testament. From beginning to end, and in the same places, those books tell of little else but of wars, arguments, intrigue, adulteries, terror, killings and every other manner of man’s inhumanity to man.
Today, we cringe as the Moslems cold-heartedly take lives of those who do not ‘believe as they do’, justifying their acts, with their belief that Allah guides them. And in our outrage, we forget.
Yes, we forget that when Moses gave us the Ten Commandments, which included telling us not to kill, that at the very same time, the Old Testament tells us that God also instructed them to make war upon the Philistines, the people of Canaan, the worshipers of Ashtoreth, and on and on.
Throughout time, there have been mixed messages, and when those ancient people were told not to kill, that injunction was evidently only for those of their own tribes. In the name and words of Allah, their God, all those of other tribes were ‘fair game’, and is repetitious of what we hear today.
Then I make a big leap to the Middle Ages when the Middle East was invaded by Christian armies from Europe, calling themselves The Crusaders . But, whatever their name, they killed and pillaged wherever they went, in their efforts to wrest the land from the hands of those they labeled ‘infidels’.
During the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries, even children were recruited, and thousands of those 10, 11, and 12 years olds, were called by God, so that in their innocence, they could make ‘right’ what the adults could not do. But they died as the ships carrying them were lost in stormy seas. History named them The Children’s Crusade.
We also read of when the city of Altamont, which was under siege (blockaded) with neither food or water. The inhabitants finally died by voluntarily throwing themselves off the high cliffs rather than surrender to the enemy whom they knew would torture them before the kindness of death was given.
The Middle East has not changed, nor perhaps, have we. Yes, the weapons, motives and methods are different, but the violence is the same, and, according to many, still in the name of Allah. Or God. Depending entirely upon which group you give your allegiance to.
It seems the motive has been and still is, almost unimportant. It’s as if it’s inherent within the people of that area to differ from the rest of the world. And for us to differ from them. And the only thing that has changed from Biblical times, are the weapons, the methods, and the motives, which today of course, is oil.
The Egyptians made slaves of the Hebrew people for over 400 years. To free them, Moses’ God sent plagues upon the Arab people, and later on, Joshua, in the name of his God, laid siege (blockage) upon the city of Jericho, killed the inhabitants, took over the city and now, who even knows the motives of any of it.
But there will never be a way of ‘righting all the wrongs’ and errors, of both sides, that have occurred in that Middle Eastern crucible of war and terror, but it all began ‘way back, as recorded in Genesis, when the ‘sons of men’ and the ‘sons of God’ contended against each other,
Yes, over and over, we must go right back to the Garden of Eden to even begin to figure out the ‘why and how’ of it all. And are left with our guesses and pondering.
The entire world has and still does send Peace Envoys there to search for some understanding upon which to build a true Peace, but it’s as if that place, that place where Jesus, our Prince of Peace was born and crucified, has never been meant for Peace.
But within us, there still remains the undying urge to seek that hidden, elusive Peace that through the millennia, has, up till now, remained beyond our reach and prayers.