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Senseless Slaughter And PTSD

Art Spiegelman has added himself to the long list of Jewish intellectuals who are critical of Israeli actions:

Art Spiegelman — celebrated comics book artist, illustrator and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Maus” — has broken his silence on the subject of Israel. At least that’s how he put it to his Facebook followers last week when he shared a collage he designed for a recent issue of the magazine The Nation.

Prefacing the social media post by saying that he has spent a “lifetime trying to NOT think about Israel,” Spiegelman went on to say that “Israel is like some badly battered child with PTSD who has grown up to batter others.”

Many have said that they believe that both sides are suffering from a serious case of post-traumatic stress disorder. I know what PTSD is like. When I look in the mirror in the morning, I really wonder how and why I am still alive. I have survived prescription drug withdrawal, seizures, depression and waking up to someone I cared about gone from the world. None of these things are exclusive to me and unfortunately, many people have been through alot worse.

Nevertheless, traumatic stress does something to the mind. On one hand, it can make someone more thoughtful of the circumstances of trauma and death and can make them reflect on it, as Spiegelman did with his brilliant Maus series. On the other hand, the trauma can turn in to hate - hate that is projected at people who you see as having caused the trauma in the first place or people who you see as facilitating future trauma. The presence of trauma in your life can also either make you super sensitive to it or it can normalize it for you and, depending on your moral character, even the normalize the infliction of it.

Pope Francis is right that war is "always mindless slaughter." It can always be avoided. It's pretty gross to see grown adults try to justify what went on in Gaza as we have seen this song played many times before by many countries - the bombing of civilians never has to happen and it happens because there is considerable payoff for the people that do it. Tear gas canisters used in Egypt, Israel and Ferguson came from the same manufacturers and the dynamics of power and control were eerily similar in all three situations, despite the differences in religion and ethnicity.


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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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