Writing this dating column has been difficult for me lately. There’s a continuing situation that makes it hard for me to care if anyone is dating or mating: War.
People are dying while we drink, dine, and obsess about our relationships, or lack of relationships. Both sides are losing their partners and future partners, their parents and children, their eyes and ears, their limbs and sanity. Homes are being leveled, towns and villages destroyed. Both literally by bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, and figuratively here by loss of life and lucre. We are told it is all done to protect us, to keep us safe. So we can drink, dine, and obsess endlessly about our relationships?
Many service people will come back changed, traumatized by the horrors they’ve experienced, by what they have been required to do. Many marriages will end due to the long separations and constant deployments. If we think we’ve got it bad, people in Iraq are having generations wiped out, men, women and children. This is the sober reality.
I moved here from Los Angeles, a melting pot of different cultures. I have friends from Iraq, and our next target, Iran. My ex-husband is from Syria. There was a time when I was immersed in the language, food, dance and customs of the Middle East. My best friends are belly dancers. They are real people to me. They have hopes and dreams, and dating problems too.
Three days a week I study war. We watch films of war footage, testimony of returned soldiers. If I’m not in class, I’m reading and writing about war. They’re all basically the same, just the faces and places change. I don’t know about you, but the ongoing war is battering my psyche, gaining momentum with each death, and with each billion dollars we spend. I’ve rationalized not writing my concerns by saying a dating column is helping people make love, not war. This justification no longer works for me.
If you believe as I do, that we are all connected and that all humans deserve the chance to love and be loved, then you can’t be passive and apathetic right now. I know it’s a buzz kill, but it needs to be talked about. And what better time to talk about it than in the beginning of a relationship. Afterall, what is the future of a new relationship started now? We’re spending all our money on the war and our economy is tanking. What kind of sunset is new love going to ride off into?
Whether you agree with the cause or not, I think we can all agree that we want the killing to stop. We want our hemorrhaging economy saved. Here’s an idea.
Next time you go on a date with someone, while you’re drinking and dining, discuss ways that you would end the conflict in Iraq if you were a leader. This discussion will probably reveal all you need to know about the person sitting across from you. It might even spark an idea that is actually useful, then you can send it in. Starting a relationship, starting a family, requires the ability to solve problems together. Put your heads together instead of your bodies and see what happens. In the name of life and love, let’s end this thing.
When the war is over, life and love will taste sweeter knowing arms are circling instead of shooting.