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Friend-a-Soldier website: It is relativly new but it needs attention!!!.

 

 Hello everyone,

                    As I was surfing the internet I found this website (www.friendasoldier.com), It's aim is to bring peace & reach to areas of conflict, but the best part is that the founders are a former IDF soldiers & they are committed to answer any question you ask.

As a peacemaker I found my self in a position of helping that website to grow up by sharing with you this information.

My question here is: Do you really think It is helpful to let only a soldier answer sensitive questions related to peace and conflict in the Middle East?

Waddah

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Personally, I think it's a great idea.  For those of us not actually on the day-to-day front lines , it helps to understand the experiences of the soldiers, how the day-to-day encounters change their perceptions, if at all. Sharing their  opinions  vis-a-vis what might be the ultimate  outcome;  indeed just articulating  their own ideas and  hopes  might well  be beneficial for everyone.  I really hope this site is a success and is widely shared.

Well said Dr.Mariyam.

Thanks for sharing your opinion.

Being involved with Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, we numerous times hosted having IDF soldiers speak at forums.  You can get interesting insight and information from them.  After their stunt in the armed forces, they went off to pursue degrees in disciplines such international studies and conflict resolution.  Being in the armed forces, open their eyes to finding an end to this perpetual violence.

I am really flabbergasted. Having done the Army as well as reserve duty. it is really the opposite that happens. Being stationed near Gaza  only reinforces ones animosity to people that try to stab you, kill you by any means or just simply blow you up. I nor my fellow soldiers thought that short of defending our men women and children could we end the violence and frankly it reinforces ones perception that short of a massive defeat of the Arabs will violence end. But do dream on.

PS: Judea and Samaria is no different but only to a degree and the wall.

Igor,

Thank you for your frankness.  Does it make any difference to your perceptions that very many Palestinians  only want to live peacefully neighbour to neighbour ?  Not everyone wants to kill you.  If nothing happens to change the status quo- our children and grandchildren are condemned to face the same situation. Violence and repression have failed for both societies,  leaving both populations psychologically scarred to greater or lesser degree. I speak from my professional experience of treating former soldiers with PTSD, who frequently told me that  their trauma was compounded because what they were doing daily was often so out of kiltre with the people they really were.   I hope that you find peace in your own life and thank you for sharing your feelings.

You are trying to lump apples with oranges. Soldiers do not make policies and are there only to defend the state. What they do see in large measure is not that "peaceful neighbour" but rather a violent neighbour who tries to shield and hide terrorists from Israeli soldiers and at first blush that is what I saw. The situation will change when the Arabs themselves start uprooting the violent terrorists and stone throwers by themselves and exacting a penalty for such un peaceful behaviour Yes both societies may be  psychologically scarred but the cause is not the same. Whereby the Arabs CAN stop the violence that causes psychological problems for Israelis: Israel does not have the power to stop Arab violemce through peaceful means , so must redort to violence of its own to try and stem it (Arab violence) that is

As a physician, you are seeing this on a level I have not been expose to.  I have never gone into a hospital to see soldiers being treated for psychological disorders.  I have only dealt with veterans, who came out of their military service, and explained what their future goals were.  I was very impressed with the IDF soldier who knew Arabic, and talk about how he counseled a would-be suicide bomber from fulfilling his task, and now the veteran was attending Tel-Aviv University majoring in conflict resolution.  Maybe we can draw upon your experiences and my experiences together, to talk about veterans who came out of their military service whole or broken.  Because military service can produce both, and both sides is what you listen to for accomplishing peace.

Tim: Unlike many Arab mothers ,Jews do not encourage nor do they celebrate the death of their sons,daughters or children. Jews aspire to life and not virgins in heaven.

Having said that, one must look at the duty of soldiers in the Western sense. They are there to protect and are apolitical and more often than not they will take the Nationalistic route as a result of the Arab death cult mentality. Yes some will see the futility of war, but on sober second thought will see that they cannot change by their actions or even by the actions of a good number of people that want peace. Peace is not dependent on them but rather on the side that has started every single war and counter action in the Middle East.

We are playing a semantic game on this site as we are not talking to the terror side of the Middle  East and instead are just demonizing the victims. We can point to solitary cases as one in a million where a tragedy has been averted by a person of good will and a fanatic that at the last moment embraces life. That is simply a feel good story and there are many more where men of good will die in their effort by the hands of these fanatics.

I am not sure if Dr. Mariyam is a psychotherapist, I will let this person speak for themselves. But it would be interesting to hear this person's explanation of this matter.  I am not a sociologist, but when I was in Nablus, I had a Palestinian Christian Minister say to me "a suicide bomber is not born, they are made."  When looking at the number of Palestinians who had advanced degrees and were not into professions equal to their education, I could see what the minister was talking about, their lives had become so meaningless, that is was why not just throw it away.  In other words, kill yourself and take some other people with you.  Investment into the West Bank is quite minimal, but there is the option of getting set-up capital from the Grameen Bank and Mercy Corps.  When I referred Palestinians over these sources of funding, they were able to start up their own businesses.  When I checked back on their businesses, they were making profits.  I am sure the IDF soldier I knew, was able to transcend this culture of meaningless for this would-be suicide bomber.  So it goes beyond if we had good parenting or bad parenting, it is the current situation that will determine if someone wants to live or die.

Tim. According to your thinking than ALL OF ASIA, ALL OF SOUTH AMERICA and ALL OF AFRICA should be awash in terror and suicide bombings. You and I both know that those feel good stories are only that, feel good and there is no correlation to peace or anything else. The Palestinians had the highest standard of living in 1967-1990 in ALL of the ARAB WORLD (save the oil emirates) and yet the suicide bombings were at their peak. Osama Bin Laden and his 911 cohorts were all from well to do families.

It is a croque to compare poverty and terror or any kind of murder.

Tim wrote : I am not sure if Dr. Mariyam is a psychotherapist, I will let this person speak for themselves.  I'm a physican whose clinical experience ranges from Post Vietnam vets through Rwanda , Northern Ireland and more recently post Afghanistan soldiers.  I have no experience of suicide bombers only of  traumatised civilians and former IDF soldiers with PTSD. 

 NI used to have  the highest incidence of PTSD , even comparing war zones like Israel and Lebanon. But it pales in comparison with figures out of Palestine.    A study from U. of W and Physicians for social responsibility   " 62 percent of Gaza’s inhabitants reported having a family member injured or killed, 67 percent saw injured or dead strangers and 83 percent had witnessed shootings.

According to Dr. Kanter, in a study of high school-aged children from southern refugee camps in Rafah and Khan Younis, 69 percent of the children showed symptoms of PTSD, 40 percent showed signs of moderate or severe depression, and a staggering 95 percent exhibited severe anxiety. Meanwhile, 75 percent showed limited or no ability to cope with their trauma" . All of this was even before Cast Lead.   More recent studies by mental health professionals put the figures very much higher - as much as 90% of children in Gaza have MH problems. 

                       A notable characteristic of the NI population was the sense of powerlessness / hopelessness and a palpable sense of " anything to change the status quo" among the Catholic community.    I observed the same in Palestine but  more widespread. People may somehow survive  for themselves but when it looks like their children will also be trapped in an endless cycle of despair and almost  daily humiliation - when the societal norms seem to have failed  then alternative  catalysts, however awful,  at least give an illusion of 'something happening' . 

 

Could you direct me to where these studies have been conducted, by whom and were have these findings been published as far as Medical Journals are concerned. Is PTSD recognized as a disorder in the USA, UK or France. Again please direct me to any Medical Clinical Trials and articles accepting this.I find these numbers highly inflated and exaggerated  so I would like to see the data that you are quoting as regards the sample population and how verifiable this data is . Statistics coming out of Gaza are mostly generated for propaganda purposes and can be easily debunked.

Can you quote studies of populations, rather than vets, that have been done in Vietnam, Cambodia, Rwanda and other areas of conflict. Should not the Gaza numbers be almost similar for the Jewish population of Israel and if not why not?

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