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No Such Thing As Healthy Competition?

Competition. How we love our competitions. They pervade every aspect of our lives. We’re brought up to be competitive. The biggest, the strongest, the fastest, the most intelligent. The sporty, the business king, the top gun, the best footballer, the President of the United States, the Archbishop, the Pope. We are taught we must be always be better than the next man or woman, if we are to succeed in life. Playing only the second fiddle is to fail.

I’ve never been competitive. As a small boy I never understood basking in the glory of others: the local football team, the school House sports, the Olympics. When others talked enthusiastically of their team’s latest conquest over a rival, I was not part of the conversation.  I was happy to be away riding my bike, imagining it a bus or a train, or occasionally a pirate galleon.

After all, is it really a good thing to pit ourselves against others? Surely, is not the ultimate competitiveness – WAR?

The latest act of war was Israel’s incursion into Gaza and the West Bank, in retaliation for the atrocities inflicted on them by Hamas. Some competition! Hamas may be an evil entity, or freedom fighters, depending on how one chooses to view them,  but they are a David in comparison to the war machine Goliath that is Israel. That’s no competition, so why do we treat it as one?

All over the Western world university campuses are alight with the fervour of young people appalled at what Israel is doing to the Palestinians. Equally, there are supporters of Israel denouncing the campus occupants as anti-Semites.  Two sides yelling venom at each other like out of control fans at a football game.

This is no football game, so why treat it as such? Because we’re programmed from birth to take sides, one against the other. The truth of this particular situation is that both Hamas and the Israeli government are equally in the wrong. Hamas for its vile and unforgiveable attacks on innocent people, and Israel for its equally vile and unforgiveable attacks on innocent people.

There is no competition so why do we insist on treating it as such and taking sides? Isn’t it right that we should condemn both sides equally?

Maybe it’s time we learned to be less competitive in our lives and instead reached out a welcoming hand to the second fiddle, who after all is equally important in the orchestra, even though it plays a somewhat different tune.



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