We Pretend We Know Nothing
We are all steeped in falsehood. We all pretend. Surely the plain truth is that each and every one of us knows exactly what pity is and when we ought to show it, because each and every one of us aches for a little pity. But come the moment when we should open the gates of compassion, we pretend we know nothing. Or that compassion and mercy are merely a way of patronizing others, something too old-fashioned and sentimental. Or that that's the way it is and what can be done about it and why me of all people?
That was presumably what Pascal meant by "the death of the soul" and about human agony being that of a dethroned king. [Fima's] efforts not to imagine what was happening on the other side of the wall struck him as cowardly, ignoble, and ugly. Surely it was the duty of all of us at least to look suffering in the eye.
If he were prime minister [of Israel], he would make each member of the Cabinet stay for a week with a reserve unit in Gaza or Hebron, spend some time inside the perimeter of one of the detention camps in the Negev, live a couple of days in a run-down psychogeriatric ward, lie in the mud and rain for a whole winter's night from sundown to dawn by the electronic fence on the Lebanese border...