George R Mitchell

Is it Israeli 'aggression' or 'Palestinian terrorism'?
Was Kiev's Maidan revolution made by innocent pro-democracy protestors or right-wing fascists?


author review MGD coverWere armed groups in Northern Ireland 'terrorists' or 'freedom fighters'?
Is Crimea Russian or Ukrainian?
Those we have seen streaming into the EU and using the open borders of Schengen to go where they please; are they refugees or illegal migrants?
Rarely are such issues simply black or white.

Journalist George R Mitchell has travelled extensively in over 80 countries and goes 'off grid' in some of the most divided countries on the planet. From Israel and Palestine to unrecognised Nagorno Karabakh in the Caucasus to Russia and the borders of the EU, George has spent three years gathering photographs and hearing first-hand accounts of war and despair to provide a precious insight into what it's really like to live on one of Mankind's Great Divides.

Interview with an off-duty member of the Israeli Defence Force
"Do you know, does anyone really understand this? Hamas have indiscriminately fired over 15,000 rockets into Israel. I ask you, what would you do if someone kept firing rockets into your country or at your house?"

I challenged him on Israel using excessive force.

"You respond to stone-throwing teenagers by firing at them; not just rubber bullets, but also live ammunition. How can you justify shooting an unarmed teenager?"

He remained calm, yet looked at me as if I were the naivest person in the world.

"Let me paint you a picture. Firstly, forget all about politics, religion and your own views on the situation. You, George, are a member of the IDF on patrol in, say, Hebron. Dozens of people are throwing stones and other missiles at you. Eventually you reply with tear gas and then suddenly a teenage boy comes walking directly towards you. He is now 50 metres away. He is wearing a jacket, zipped up. He walks directly down the middle of the road. Is he wearing a suicide belt? Am I going to die today? You shout at him, in Arabic, pleading with him to STOP! He keeps coming. You try again, telling him if he doesn't stop, you will shoot. You are terrified. He keeps coming. Time is running out for you George. You know that if he comes any further, you may be dead. You shout one last time. He keeps coming and he's now smiling with his hand inside his jacket. We shoot him."

He then leaned across the small coffee table, looked me directly in the eye and said in a deftly calm voice: "So, what would you do George? Would you take him out or let yourself and many others be blown to pieces?"

I am eternally grateful that I do not have to make a split second decision such as that.

www.mankindsgreatdivides.com

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