As Turkish Cypriots, as Cypriots, it is with horror that we watch every day the ghastly events unfolding a couple of hundred miles or so from our island. For me it is particularly painful and personal.
Unlike most armchair commentators, I have been to the West Bank, to Gaza and to Israel several times. In particular, I have visited the Al Ahli Hospital – the one in Gaza City that was destroyed last week. I met its doctors, staff and some of its patients. What struck me at the time was how much the Palestinians looked like my own family back in Cyprus.
In Israel I experienced a complex society. I was impressed by the vibrancy of its democracy and the integrity of some of its intellectuals – most notably with their sensitivity towards the Palestinians. I also made friends there.
As I see the IDF troops massing on the border of Gaza and South Lebanon I can’t help but think that the two friends I have in mind have been called up to fight.
The question that we must ask ourselves is what can we do and what should we think in the face of all this horror? It is a particularly pertinent question for us as Turkish Cypriots and Cypriots given our own unhappy history and experience of inter-community conflict.
My own view is very simple. We should not give in to hate, to ‘othering’ and to conspiracy theories. We must remember our shared humanity.
A woman defiled, a child slaughtered, a family destroyed, is a tragedy, whatever their ethnicity or religious beliefs.
As Muslims, as Christians and as Jews we are all of the same Abrahamic Book; we share the same belief that there is no God but the one God; we have a common cause, which is that of justice and compassion.
And it is together, as people of the same Book, that we must stand together, mourn together and promote our unity in the face of evil and suffering. We must not divide communities in our hearts or our prayers. If we do not do this then the whole world will be torn apart, yet again.
Main image, top, of victims of Israeli-Hamas war, October 2023 (L-R): Israeli 12 year-old Noya Dan murdered by Hamas, traumatised young Palestinian boy in a Gaza hospital after sustaining injuries following Israeli bombing, 85-year-old grandfather Shlomo Ron murdered by Hamas, Mahmoud Alnaouq and family wiped out in Gaza following Israeli airstrike.
This article was written by British Turkish Cypriot author and businessman Metin Murat.