Look at this. It doesn't matter if it's Baghdad, Haifa, Gaza City, Kabul, Tikrit, or Tyre (which this is). It doesn't matter who started it. It doesn't matter how this was done. It doesn't matter who's right. It doesn't matter whose fault it is. None of this matters in any immediate way. People are dying. Some are woman and children and infants. Some are old and sick. Some are utterly innocent of perpetuating violence, others have reveled in destruction. Some will argue about the justifications for this. Some, who really should know better, will debate this. But when you look at this directly, when you contemplate this destruction and death, all of that justifying and all of that talk just doesn't matter. This must stop. Not just immediately, for the next short while, in the few places that show up selectively on TV. This must stop.
Is this unrealistic? Is this idealistic? Is this naive? Is it immature? Is it childish? Is this somehow the wrong thing to say or think? I wonder how many times I am going to have to see this picture or an equivalent one. I wonder how many more people will have to die or be maimed and injured. I wonder when we, you and I, will finally stop.
There is a wonderful story about Angulimala, a murderer who wore a necklace of fingers around his neck, one from each of his nearly 100 victims. Once he encountered the Buddha while the Buddha was begging. The long and the short of their encounter: the Buddha was unafraid and told him to stop. And miracle of miracles he could, and he did. He took the three refuges and became a monk. The murderer's name was changed to Ahimsaka, the nonviolent one.
Who will tell us to stop now? Who among us will listen? Who among us will stop? How can we change our names? Dear G-d, let there be Shalom, Salaam, Peace.