Just one of those things, like the chicken and egg

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, after all has been said and done, the arguments expended in life and limb, it is just one of those things that men fight over. Like winnings at craps, or to be philosophical about it without any apparent basis, more like the chicken and egg. Doomed to be debated, ad infinitum. Or they can just be passions that tug at the human heart inexplicably except that one is there and the other is here. As in Ateneo-La Salle.

I have long been caught up in this debate, probably since even early in high school. Since then I have always been for the Jews. There is no intrinsic reason for that other than I just happen to prefer them over the Palestinians. There is no historical basis for that even. This could be a big mistake on my part but I do not think I am the only one.

I know of many people who embarked on journeys they do not fully understand and thus go on to finish the journey for whatever it is worth rather than for what it meant in the first place. Many become biased that way, as I have certainly become, to my great regret, in a few things important to my life. Thankfully, I wield no great power over people. My reach is not substantial enough to change the ways of the world.

The great equalizer in my craft is that I am a writer. I am a newspaper columnist. I am paid for my opinions which tend to be biased as you cannot have a legitimate opinion without a particular liking or a preference one over the other. But in this way all opinion makers have to be biased. Staying normal, sticking to the middle of the road is what a normal journalist must be. News reporters and editors are required to be that way.

Before I retired as a regular journalist it was tough living several roles in the office as reporter and all the way on to editor-in-chief. These roles required of me to be absolutely neutral and objective. But when I shift to writing a column three times a week I have to summon my biased preferences for issues, personalities, beliefs. This bias or preference must however be explained as something that does not at all involve twisting of facts or engaging in falsities.

Biases involving opinion writers are those that draw him more to particular issues than others or think more highly of certain personalities than other characters. Nevertheless, since opinion makers take a stand they become the most hated of journalists. Be that as it may columnists are at the same time the most popular.

In a way looking at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is like looking at the world through an opinion maker's eye. You get to choose one over the other. Sometimes the conflict is too old and complicated, one gets thrust into it depending on one’s bias and preference. The Israeli-Palestinian issue has become so complicated it is cumbersome to tear through it page by page.

The fact of being a Christian also helps my taking sides with the Israelis even without my thinking and meaning to. They just seemed destined to be that way.

On the other hand I do not know, or maybe my bias is just too shallow to help explain why I have this almost automatic aversion for Palestinians. They just seemed to be like Crispa and Toyota when I first started truly liking basketball. I just went for Toyota.

I see many things now that I do not like in this often-violent conflict. There is so much cruelty and pain inflicted by one side on the other, vice-versa. And the sad thing about it is that there is no end in sight as the younger generations take their sides and take the place of the old, they will argue the same arguments, keep within the same parameters, plot the same attacks, and kill the same people they have been killing.

Which so much sadness in many parts of the world let me just take a small breather to remember today my mommy Flora Suico. It is her birth anniversary today she would have been 101 years old. I know she is in a good place. I will always think about her. I hope others could have done so much more like she did in raising me and guiding me with my father Teodoro Tundag despite her passing on at the very young age of 40. And also a very happy birthday today to Joefel Ortega Banzon, Business editor of The FREEMAN.

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