Pandora’s Box (On The Middle East’s Uncertainties)

December 5, 2023

By Mike McQuillan

Does torment plague the Hamas terrorist’s mind or toss his restless body during night?

Might slaughtered babes as demons plague him such that dawn dissolves adrenalin’s false courage to destroy his self-regard? His bill, too, comes due.

May Israel forgo the primal urges that mete out genocide for all Hamas has done? Beware as retribution’s bloodlust renews what we deplore.

To level, hospitals with bombs betray our Jewish values plus the Hippocratic Oath. It shatters hopes for Gaza’s families in sight of the sanctuary’s gate.


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What does the mirror disclose, Prime Minister, as you brush your teeth or button shirt? Do you regret having aided Hamas in deterring the Palestinian Authority’s past statehood pursuit?

Perhaps you cower when alone as you foresee your fall from grace. Even Ancient Greece’s war god Ares like you was not immune. He escaped the pits of Tartarus at Zeus’ late behest, but Hercules bested him in battle and Hephaestus shamed him on Olympus for an illicit affair.

The TV talk, Prime Minister, is that you will face “a reckoning when war is done.” Your patron, our President, traipses on a tightrope from once unwavering support. Embracing Israel’s self-defense, he demurs from your extreme actions and their global backlash.

You wouldn’t fire your Defense Minister for his “human animals” remark or Air Force briefers’ boasts of having “changed the paradigm” with Israeli bombers’ crosshairs aimed at Gaza ambulances, residential neighborhoods, and Rafah Crossing refugees.

Here a poisoned climate has become our war product. It’s “What about the terrorists?” if you deplore West Bank settlers’ attacks or the toll of Gaza’s dead. But to condemn Hamas for its horrific killings, kidnaps, rapes, rebounds allegations of Israeli genocide.

We fly the flag of blue tallit stripes with hexagram or raise its ensign opposite of black and white with green and red. Might a UN flag unite the global innocents who protest and plead or pray for a ceasefire’s peace?

We here learn to make a living but not how to get along. The city on the hill we call the free world’s leader, and the last best hope of man lies mired in mud. Accusations and recrimination show who we have become.

Can we ignite sparks of loving kindness toward ultimate salvation? 

Yet another webinar last evening featured a young woman, Palestinian, who engaged in thoughtful talk. The male respondent was Israeli; he, too, showed respect.

What each said seemed less momentous than their tone. That one thousand listeners Zoomed in sows hope the body politic can grow that middle ground.

Both speakers favor coalitions, a notion buried in Pandora’s Box but never out of style.

As I sip the morning coffee, I sense that’s where hope’s embers lie.

Michael McQuillan

Michael McQuillan, former US Senate aide, and Peace Corps Volunteer honored by the Anti-Defamation League and the Brooklyn Council of Churches, chaired the NYPD Training Advisory Council’s Race Subcommittee. Harlem World Magazine, The Write Launch and the Covid Rebels 21 Poets Anthology have published his spirituality and social justice poems and essays.  

Related: Look for more articles by Mike McQuilan on Micheal’s World.

HWM Editorial: The post does not necessarily project the views of Harlem World Magazine.

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