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"the big question is - if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? - probably yes" - David Ward MP (who later apologised categorically)

Almost every night for weeks, I have tried to write what I feel about Israel’s latest attack on the Gaza Strip but until now each time I have tried, I have given up. I am not Palestinian, nor am I Israeli nor Jewish. I cannot truly understand the pressures that the people who suffer what is happening are under. Some, on both sides, argue that I do not need to, that I should support one side or the other, or condemn them both, as a matter of basic moral principle. That tempts me, and in the past I have succumbed to that temptation. The last time this happened, in 2012, I condemned both sides for their violence.

My basic moral principles tell me to do so. I am a pacifist. As a matter of basic principle and as an ideal I reject all violence. I am a pacifist because I know the power of words. I know the power of words because I was raised by words alone. But had I not been; had I been raised by the fist and the boot, by the sword and the gun, by the bomb, the rocket and the missile; had I seen words fail so many times, the shouts of my parents and leaders powerless against the violence that surrounded them; had I grown up with the knowledge that on the whim of another, a person, not some avenging god or force of nature, my entire life and everything I had known could be torn from me, and that no matter how much I reasoned, rationalised, appealed, begged or pleaded there would be nothing I could do, perhaps then I would have a different point of view.

Even now, were I tested, I do not know if I would meet my own standards. Perhaps if my family or nation were threatened, I would take up arms and carry them to the enemy. Perhaps my rage would blind me to whether my actions were proportionate or indeed those I killed any real threat. I might ignore my own rationale that in the end there are other ways, that violence only leads to more violence, or even just that the enemy have families too and that they might seek to avenge themselves on mine. I might ask that my enemy find a strength that I cannot raise in myself, to not retaliate against my actions and to refrain from seeking private vengeance once peace is restored. I look at Gaza, and Israel, and I think there but for providence go I.

There are those who reason this way and say that those who are oppressed have a right to react with violence, a right to rage, to anger, to brutal fury and vicious hatred. Yet throughout history there have been those who have had the strength to reject these vices and their example has encouraged others to do the same. Perhaps I should not condemn nor criticise those who choose to fight, but I believe I can offer my encouragement and praise to those who do not.

So will I not condemn indiscriminate attacks on civilians, attacks that have killed hundreds of innocents? No I feel that I must join the call for these attacks to cease, despite everything I have said above. Even if it is the case that were I in in another’s place I would have acted the same way, even though I may have no right to tell another how to react to their fears or their oppression, I must surely act out of simple, common humanity. The world must say that there are some actions that are not permissible, that cannot be supported under any circumstances, even if we believe that we ourselves would not be able to satisfy our own morality. We must do so in order to encourage those who can meet our ideals to continue, and to inspire others to follow their example.

I have the privilege of living a life free from violence, ultimately that privilege has been granted to me by those who experienced violence and had the strength to reject it, breaking a chain that had lasted for centuries. It would be a disservice to those people if I through my deliberate actions forged a new chain of violence. I therefore revile the violence from both sides, without condemning the people who resort to it. I support the efforts of those who seek to find other ways. I encourage both sides to have the strength to unilaterally lay down their arms, regardless of the response from their opponents. Only in this way can the chain truly be broken.

I reserve my condemnation for those who support violence without cause or excuse. Those who are not suffering under oppression themselves, and who have never despaired for the safety of their families. The arms dealers who profit from selling the weapons that wreak terrible destruction. The diplomats and ideologues who sanction warfare for political ends. The armchair militarists who cheer every explosion for the sheer excitement of energetic destruction. Those who, from their comfortable, privileged lives, free from pain and hurt, preach that violence is inevitable and that we should just accept it as a fact of – other people’s – lives.

So grundoon gets tons of support because she has cancer. Oh, breast cancer, stage III and she is such a nice girl.

I get people being fucking assholes to me because they think I'm crazy and they don't understand autoimmune and it is not as romantic as cancer.

This is discrimination. I went to the annual American Association of Family Practitioners in San Francisco, the week after spending a week with grundoon for her mastectomy. Met wertperch for the first time. One of the speakers at the conference talked about how our society and medical system discriminates consistently against people with mental health disorders.

I am being told that my writeups over the last six weeks are not up to my usual standards. By the administration, not just other noders. Ok, so I had strep A sepsis, I nearly croaked and had the stress of having the ER doctor refuse to call my specialist and say I'm crazy so I had to treat it at home for a second time plus an autoimmune disorder. You know what? I don't I can feel very bad about being "a little blurry around the edges". You try writing when you're septic and get back to me. Try walking in my shoes.

And if you are someone who is sympathetic to cancer patients but not to someone with a mental health disorder or with an autoimmune disorder or fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue..... well, [remove yourself from my friend list, honey. I really do not think much of people who discriminate. Get a life.

And I also think that people are responding differently to me than my sister for potentially two more reasons. One is that they think I am NOT a nice girl, or not as nice as my sister. They base kindness on reputation. Secondly, they are basing their opinion of me on what they've heard from other people. And how dare you judge me if you have not met me in person. Go talk to your higher power. Who was it who said "Judge not that ye may not be judged?"

Am I judging you? Maybe so. I prefer to think of it as making an observation: look at the support that grundoon received with her terrible chronic illness. She was really sick.

Look at the support I have received in 2012 and now, both times nearly dying of sepsis. I would like to thank the three noders who have been supportive. You know who you are..... and I gold starred two of them yesterday.

Even if people go on treating me in a nasty uncaring way, I do not want to be a nice girl. My sister had a nice girl reputation and everyone thought she was charming. She is dead at 48. My mother could charm the birds from the trees. She died at 61.

My grandmother was an introverted hellion. She lived to 92. Yep, that's who I want to be like.

Nuff said.

I really don't care



Thank you, gnarl, for your reply. And if you represent the majority, that the site only cares about the writing, not the people, then it will die. It should die. And I think that grundoon would want it to die, because she cared about people.

I'm going to put myself out here and publicly respond to lizardinlaw's daylog above me, because it reads like it is demanding a public response.

First, for the benefit of people reading this who have joined in the last few years, a brief history of E2's social aspect in the well over a decade before grundoon's death from cancer.

We can even parcel it up in a brief history of grundoon's presence on E2. This includes her joining the site and contributing right in the midst of its heyday in 2001, when we were chucking writeups up 100 fold a day, babbling like loons in the catbox so you'd have to refresh every fifteen seconds to follow the threads of conversations, and meeting in large or more intimate groups in 'The Real World'. There were a lot of us around, writing, joking, chatting, looking after each other in our own small ways, and having impromptu parties at the drop of a hat.

Grundoon became a part of the volunteer administration, talking to and welcoming new users, helping look after continuing users struggling with finding their voice in their writeups, tackling down errant jokers giving everyone a hard time. She met wertperch here in this space and despite a 5000 mile difference, they got it together. A whole bucketload of us were at their UK-side ceremony (I was part of the 'calling the corners'). She gave me and many others time, attention, advice and inspiration without any expectations in return apart from mutual respect when disagreeing.

So, when the cancer showed up again, and again, everyone here tried to come to grips with its inevitability, which included all sorts of emotional (and some physical) support from all of us who counted wert and grundoon as a friend or some other friendly connection.

At the same time, Everything2 was quite clearly becoming the last place all those people were calling home for online social communication. The site couldn't keep up with other sites, which was clear in 2004 with the attempt at The New E2, clearer in 2007 when social network developments to compete or at least keep up with the likes of Facebook couldn't be put together, and the emotional nail in the coffin (as it were) was the death of grundoon in 2012.

A death of a core member in all online social communities adversely affects the cohesiveness of that community. We lose our drive, we drift off, we tighten bonds with other members using different communities or just plain email. We lose our patience.

What does this have to do with you, lizardinlaw?

What do we know about you?

You are grundoon's sister. You have a medical clinic. You save lives and help people here with medical problems. You are suffering from an autoimmune disorder and all the chaos and pain that entails. You have lost your biggest fan: your sister. You want us to support you, but at the same time don't give a fuck. You want to play around here, yet you don't want to play fair. You think you are entitled to insult the memory of your sister, by invoking the 'I'm ill too!' pity card. You demand attention from a site with just a few dozen active participants (several of whom you have alienated in some way I don't want to know the history to).

It doesn't matter if grundoon was a 'nice girl'. She was deeply involved with the social shape of this site. She was connected to a hell of a lot of members here. She was married to someone who shaped the heart of the collective outlook of the community. She also had cancer, which she documented in writing up many the stages and effects of it on her life, while also puncturing the seriousness of it. When she was hurting and full-of despair, she reached out privately for momentary sympathy or diversion.

You are not grundoon. You are in a different situation, in a different place than this once was. The main difference that matters here between the two of you is: she was a better writer*.

I'm sorry for your immense loss. I'm sorry you are in the throes of a scary illness. I'm not sorry to say you are using the wrong place and especially the wrong approach to share your frustration and anger.

*addition, 31 July: I've been made aware how unsuitable this last line is, and I agree. I should have spelled out what I was trying to say instead of choosing to be glib. I wrote it in the sense of what is valued here beyond one's social aspect in the community, which is your writing. grundoon's legacy beyond users' memories is the writing she has left, and in my subjective opinion, I consider it 'better' than than what lizard-in-law has contributed. With this site being a different place than a few years ago --smaller, fewer contributions-- who grundoon was or lizard-in-law is only matters in the context of what they've posted.

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