For this doctor, silence on the violence in the Middle East is a betrayal.
It has been exactly 100 days of absolute madness in the Middle East. I have not shared on this platform since the mess started in October of 2023, but the time has come for me to speak up. Silence is no longer an option. Silence is rather a betrayal.
From day 1, I have tried to be a voice of reason. That was not easy. I have tried very hard to build bridges and invite dialogue, but it turned out that a meaningful healing remains an elusive goal in the midst of a bloody massacre. People cannot really heal when they do not feel safe, and no one feels safe in that troubled part of the world right now.
Some of my colleagues, who write books against hate and who travel the world as keynote speakers preaching healing, have retracted into their narrow corners, pointing fingers and wearing a defense armor, othering and dehumanizing dead civilians considered “a collateral damage.” For some, somehow, I too, became “the enemy” overnight.
Watching children die in front of our very eyes should never be okay, no matter whose children they are. For physicians, especially psychiatrists, to condone killing or celebrate death is beyond me and is a gross violation of any ethical code of professional conduct of which I am aware.
The last 100 days have been a very ugly wakeup call, a sobering experience and one that made me look deep within to try to hold true to my core beliefs and moral values. That is coming with a heavy price of my social media accounts being blocked and some removing their connections with me. It might mean that I will continue to be cancelled, called names, and even threatened, but that is a small price that I am willing to pay for being authentic.
When this long nightmare is over, hopefully very soon, it is my sincere desire and genuine intent to extend an invitation to all willing to be part of the solution. We can grieve and heal, if we do it together.
Dr Reda is a psychiatrist in Colorado. He is the author of The Wounded Healer: The Pain and Joy of Caregiving.