It’s all too easy to become swept up in the politics of the war between Israel & Hamas. A tragic incident can serve as a reminder that wars are not just a thing that happens on the news. Justin Amash, a former congressman, made this point very clear on Friday when he revealed the impact of war on his family and himself.
Amash posted on social media that several of his family members were killed in an Israeli airstrike that accidentally damaged the Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church located on the Gaza Strip.
I was really worried about this. 😔 With great sadness, I have now confirmed that several of my relatives (including Viola and Yara pictured here) were killed at Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church in Gaza, where they had been sheltering, when part of the complex was destroyed as… pic.twitter.com/w5k1xEeTgF
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) October 20, 2023
Amash’s blog post is not just a story of personal loss, but it also highlights the horrors that civilians on both sides are experiencing. It reminds us how many people have been killed by the violence.
The first reason his relatives were in the church was to seek refuge from the horrors that began on October 7, when Hamas launched a war on Israel and killed over 1,000 Israelis. Most of them were civilians.
As soon as the news broke of Israel’s attack on a church near the target, many media outlets spun the tragedy in an attempt to defame Israel. Some implied that the structure was destroyed, but this was later proven to be false. The building was damaged, but not destroyed.
Amash’s blog post also brings to light the suffering of Palestinian Christians, a minority that is often overlooked in war. His words remind people that the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is usually framed in terms of Judaism or Islam. There are also other religions that are affected.
Politics is a lens through which we tend to see these conflicts. While necessary, the numbers and data can often make us numb to the suffering of individuals that is a part of these conflicts. It’s more than just a game of geopolitical checkers; for many, it’s an incredibly personal tragedy. Amash’s suffering shows the high price of war.
Both sides have discussed the conflict and war between Israel and Palestine, which has lasted for over five decades. On the radio and internet, there is a lot of finger-pointing. Amash’s sad news should serve as a reminder of the reasons why wars are so horrible. Maybe stories like these can help us find a peaceful solution to prevent disasters in the future. If we can focus on the human side of things rather than the politics, we may be able to see a way out of the dark situation.