Johannesburg - Today we venture to the Middle East to speak to doctors in Gaza and in Israel. Their stories speak for themselves. They are ordinary people in the front line of an extraordinary situation.
These doctors’ lived realities are the consequences of religious dogma, loathing and prejudice infused by fear. The price is counted in the litres of blood being shed, watering the seeds of a timeless hate that will reap a harvest to poison generations to come.
It is important to listen to the voices of these doctors, rather than be swayed by the demagoguery of populists and the empty platitudes of politicians who would be statesmen, but retain a vested interest in anything but peace.
We have had plenty of the former in recent weeks, with globe-trotting diplomacy that has done little to change the trajectory of the next chapter of a wholly avoidable tragedy. We’ve stopped listening to the people in the streets, in the front line of this war without end.
War can never be ended by war. In less than a month, veterans and their families will bow their heads in silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, commemorating the war that was supposed to end all wars. That was 105 years ago. The annals of history ever since show just how vainglorious that pledge actually was.
We stand once more on the edge of the abyss. One day we will go too far.
For the sake of our future, we have to let go of the past with all its hurts and horrors to forge a future in which everyone has a reason to hope. At the moment there is very little of that in the Middle East – and we will all be the poorer for that.