AGE AND PUNISHMENT IN GAZA
My fiancé and I (Jewish liberal and Christian peace activist respectively) have been going around on this for days. Neither of us on just one side or the other. Of course we can’t solve it.
But yesterday I heard on the radio that the average age of the Gaza population is 17, lower even than that of Iraq (25), meaning probably a quarter of the population is in adolescence.
Having just emerged from a ten years’ long dark night with an adolescent family member, it occurred to me: If any of our fathers had ever hit us, because of what we were doing when we were a teenager, doing teenage things (in the sixties!), what would it have done to our attitude? How would we have reacted?
I know I learned early on as a parent of an adolescent that nothing I could have done (if it was violent punishment) would have fixed anything, solved anything, made him behave, or made him a better person.
The fact is, Gaza is not just Hamas, not just terrorism. It is a population that is probably at least 25% adolescents, with all the emotions and anger that brings. An adolescent poorly reared by his/her parents and surroundings is a problem with no easy solution. And now a similar problem Israel has created for itself in the form of Gaza.
*Sharon Sudmanm, Peace in the Precincts Steering Committee, A Program of Friends for a Non-Violent World, 399 Macalester St., St. Paul MN 55105 W: (651)698-5552, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.