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Which Side Matters More? Politics Or Humanity

Is it just me, or is politics becoming more of society’s problem than a solution? It seems to me that the more political our mindsets become, the more our hearts will cease to be human. One example would be the COVID-19 pandemic when wearing a mask and getting vaccinated was more of a political debate, than a health and safety requirement. Then I reflected back to January 12, 2014 when I first saw Jon Robin Baitz’s Play Other Desert Cities in person. My first impression was the play written by Ancient Greek Tragedian Sophocles Antigone, where the nature of both plays being about grief, anger, disagreement, and even disownment inspired me to write an article titled The Timeless Nature of Grief in Other Desert Cities and Antigone. This article was about how throughout periodical time, the powerful emotions of grief, anger, disagreement, and even disownment can still generate the same effect within families.

Referencing it nine years later has caused me to look at the play in a different light. I say this because due to the tensions of the Hamas-Israel war as well as the effects that it has on people, I realized that Other Desert Cities represents a much deeper war of conflict that goes beyond Hamas and Israel. That war of conflict would be an internal conflict that makes us question what matters more in times of wars, tragedies, and disasters: politics or humanity? This is because a simple or complex issue can divide people and make them turn against each other, based on what they choose to prioritize more: what makes a person politically correct or what makes a person a human being.

One example can be referenced, The Israel-Hamas War Is Making Americans Question Their Relationships, when Editor of Times Magazine Belinda Luscombe reported about a woman named Marina who once had a dear friend, whom she met through her husband, who was also best friends with her friend’s husband. This is a recent example of politics and humanity at war with one another. At a time when loved ones are being separated and killed, these two friends were being separated from each other because the complexity of the Hamas-Israel war caused them to turn against each other. At first, Marina and her friend were inseparable and were as close as family.

Then the war happened, and that’s when everything changed dramatically and took a turn for the worse when Marina and her friend stopped talking to each other. Marina’s friend approached the situation from a political perspective, as she expressed anger and hurt, due to the posts that Marina was posting on social media that gave a negative representation of Muslims. Similar to an Other Desert Cities production on YouTube that’s published by Tony Lovell, when everything was going well for the Wyeth family until Brooke announced a memoir she was writing about her deceased brother Henry.

Brooke’s mother Polly expressed to her husband Lyman her feelings of anger and hurt by Brooke’s topic of her book when she states, “You and I have a son. Who was implicated in a horrific and senseless bombing. In which a homeless veteran of Vietnam was burnt to death. Burnt to a crisp. Supposedly by accident. And that is the subject of her book! So, no I am not at “peace””. Marina approached the situation from a humanitarian perspective, as she tried reassuring her friend that what she posted wasn’t meant to cause offense or harm when she stated, “Nothing [I’m posting] is about Muslims and nothing is about the Arab culture,” she says. “I only talked about Hamas.” In Other Desert Cities, Brooke tries to reassure her mom that the topic of her book is harmless when she states, “Look, I love you. And nothing in it contradicts that. Really, I don’t think you have anything to be nervous about.”

While Marina’s friend explained to Marina about not supporting the Israeli government’s actions, Marina tried to explain to her friend that babies were being killed and families’ lives were in danger. It wasn’t about politics, it was about humanity being under attack, but Marina’s friend couldn’t see it that way. When Polly still wouldn’t listen to reason, Brooke commented on her mom trying to make her book a political issue by saying, “I just love how—right off the bat, you assume that it’s a hit-and-run job on you, Mom. How little trust there is. Look at you.” Polly replies “” Trust”! Didn’t Ronnie say ‘trust but verify?’ I kind of would like to verify! Before it shows up on the bedside tables of the liberal elite across the land? Before we’re reviewed by your pal, Ms. Didion, in The New York Review of Books.”

Finally, Marina’s friend created a social media post which horrified Marina. She broke down at work and cried. She expressed her feelings of heartbreak saying, “This is a girl who I think is the most amazing, wonderful, has such social intelligence, emotional intelligence, and for her to put something that evil—it broke me, it completely destroyed me.” By the end of their conversation, Polly stated something that horrified Brooke by saying, “You would lose us. So, you understand.” Then Brooke expresses her feelings of shock and hurt by saying, “I miscalculated. Badly. Polly basically threatened to never speak to me again.”

To conclude, a complex issue about global war as well as death in the family, divided two best friends and a family into two sides of politics versus humanity. From a humanitarian perspective, Mariana made posts exposing the horrors of the Hamas-Israel war. From a political perspective, her friend saw how bad it looked for her and the Muslim community. From a humanitarian perspective, Brooke wrote a book to honor her brother’s memory. From a political perspective, her family saw how bad it looked on them. How do you see it? Which side are you on?

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