From Empathy to Action: Navigating the Complexities of Global Conflicts

Simon d'Orlaq
6 min readOct 13, 2023

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What we see in this conflict is the transformation of reality into a mere spectacle, illustrating the obscenity of our times.

In this society, speakers indulge in depicting and amplifying horrors endlessly. One might question the reasons for this strange fascination with a situation made so virtual by these superficial narrators. Many seem eager to voice their opinion, hoping to stand out, using these tragedies to elevate themselves, as if their words held genuine weight.

The sad truth is that the tangible seems to matter little. What truly matters is the symbolic value these tragedies can generate in our societies. We are drawn to this conflict because it remains a distant abstraction, allowing us to savor the somewhat guilty pleasure of discussing it risk-free.

With this conflict, it’s as if we’re indulging in raw pain, in tragedies still tangible.

The amount of whimsical projections it spawns, especially in a religious context, is striking. This shows that religious beliefs continue to deeply structure our emotions and perceptions. These conflicts, although distant, touch us closely, allowing us to project our own feelings and desires.

Most behave as eager spectators, projecting their desires, their passion, constantly discussing and commenting.

Reality isn’t summed up in your tweets or your interpretations. It’s more organic, made of tangible suffering, of shattered lives that care little for your opinions.

Over there, there are lives, souls affected. Existences that, far beyond the frenzy of the moment, will pay the price of this avalanche of often reductive words.

Events, in general, are used to reorient values within societies. They elicit emotions that are quickly transformed into judgments. They shape our society. Palestine and Israel, since their inception and the ensuing conflicts, are poignant examples of this.

These territories have become instruments for our debates, our agreements, and disagreements. Despite our apparent indignation, many take pleasure in judging and manipulating.

The incessant flow of information often serves to validate or challenge our opinions, bringing a certain satisfaction when our biases are confirmed.

This thirst for information, to tackle seemingly insoluble problems, shows our desire for control. The real challenge lies in action, in speaking out to create real change, rather than in a perpetual critical stance.

So, why such superficial involvement? Why such passion for subjects on which we have little real impact?

It would be more constructive to bring nuance instead of adding noise to the cacophony, to seek understanding rather than merely standing out.

For example, as many others suggest, if Hamas was able to massacre, it’s because in one way or another, Netanyahu allowed them to. Because he, consciously or unconsciously, let them act, thereby allowing his own people to die to ensure his political and personal survival. Not just because Egypt was aware and had warned. So, consciously. But because his ideology and his power might have blinded him, like the rest of the society, blinded to the point of only seeing the settlers and a judicial system everyone wanted to control, rather than the growing misery at their feet, month after month. To the point of organizing. To the point of being ready to massacre.

We could dive into the melee, chain together the facts, comment on Hamas, Qatar, this dear ally, its main financier to whom 24 additional Rafales are about to be delivered. We could say that all of this is a vast charade, as conflicts have always been throughout humanity. Going back to 1948, to the First Crusade, to Abraham and Methuselah — because yes, this conflict feeds on this eternal and mythological ability to narrate, a story that only violence can give birth to.

If we want to talk about terrorism, let’s talk about that, since they wanted the terror, they sought it out, one could say, to point out that if we talk about Iran, it’s only to mask, by any possible means, the responsibility of our allies in these acts of violence that we pretend to denounce. From gas to blood: after all, isn’t oil merely the compost of decay, accumulated over millions of years?

Qatar, these dear allies, then, who keep fueling everything, while we only talk about Iran to hide it, and PSG to forget. But also Hamas, this entity supported by its adversaries to scatter the PLO, democratically elected before giving, through its very election, the golden bridge all its enemies dreamt of to destroy this cause that worried them so much, while Arafat, under known conditions, died, and a soon-to-be bedridden and already corrupt individual replaced him, extinguishing what was left of the dream of an emancipated Palestine, in the hypocritical indifference of its allies.

We could continue to talk about all this, feed on and boast about these women, men, and children who were massacred, piling facts, stories, distortions, and manipulations on them.

We could remind the ignorant who think they have mastered all of this, pleased with their ignorance and the reassurances it constantly provides. Ask them: what does the word terrorism mean, if it’s not a void that says nothing to those who only know order through violence?

Who will recall the Irgun to those filled with pious words? Deir Yassin, the Lehi… Begin, Nobel Peace Prize winner? Acts, organizations, founders of a nation. Is it really the method you’re denouncing, or the possibility that it might be applied to you, you who thought you had finally achieved tranquility?

We could delve deeper into thought and ask those who are outraged that civilians were affected, as if civilians in militarized, warring societies were a differentiable entity. To them, rather than asking at what point death becomes decent and dignified, we could ask: what does organizing a rave at the foot of an open-air prison mean, if not the most futile, the most ultimate expression of indecent pleasure, which could only call for evil? And how can we be surprised that it was targeted?

Who will remind us that in the neighboring kibbutzim, yesterday’s glory, guided tours were offered in golf carts, around this wall erected to enclose?

Then, there will be outcry. How could you legitimize? The horror? No. We abhor it. Just as others bury it.

We indeed denounce the horror: the shattered lives, the terrified minds, abruptly reminded of the world’s cruelty.

We could continue this reflection endlessly. Like many, we have pondered deeply on the matter, having tread on these lands and read about their history, from reality to poetic texts. It’s important to note that this situation doesn’t concern only the Jews. Egypt, by confining the Palestinians, is contributing to the oppression of a displaced, mistreated, and colonized people. It’s crucial to understand that these Jews, who were marginalized elsewhere, were transplanted here and have ironically become the perpetrators of the violence they once endured.

The real issue is neither about religion nor identity but about territory and politics.

It’s not about Islam, and caution is needed regarding what we project onto these lands. The fundamentalisms that exist here are varied, from Jewish orthodox to Muslim brothers, worlds very different from ours. It’s essential not to generalize or oversimplify their beliefs and practices.

We could delve deeper into the subject, but by focusing on the details, we might lose sight of the bigger picture. The truth is, we are watching this situation as spectators of a tragedy over which our influence is limited, if not non-existent.

Out of respect and acknowledgment of our helplessness, should we keep our distance rather than raise our voices loudly in outrage? This restraint might be the most appropriate response, especially when so many other global tragedies continue to leave us indifferent.

During this conflict, 2,500 Afghans lost their lives in the shadows, without anyone sending aid or even a thought for them, in regions that our interventions have ravaged over the past four decades.

Let’s learn from their fate. Our memories are littered with fleeting indignations that led to numerous losses. What we express today in hopes of reassuring ourselves and finding meaning might simply offend and hurt further those we claim to help.

Let’s choose a more humble and closer-to-reality approach, despite the challenges it presents, to stay true to our deepest convictions.

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