Love thy neighbor
|Robi Damelin, left, lost her son David, 27, when he was killed by a Palestinian sniper. Bushra Awad, right, lost her son Mahmoud, 17, when he was shot by Israeli soldiers. - Rina Castelnuovo, New York Times|
Sitting on our deck in the heat of the New England summer, I listen to the flute-like song of a Wood Thrush. Our small corner of heaven is far from conflict in Syria, the chaos in Egypt or attacks in Darfur. Today I lunch on freshly baked bread and my favorite "Yarra Valley Dairy" marinated feta cheese from Australia, luxuriating in peace that I and most of us take for granted.
Just a few months ago we watched first responders and bystanders run toward victims of the Boston marathon bombings to help, seconds after the blast, without a thought for their own safety. How many of us wondered if we had the courage to do the same? While savoring my cheese today, I read an article in the New York Times illustrating another type of bravery - a willingness to listen to the narrative of an 'enemy'. Astonishing photographs of bereaved Palestinian and Israeli 'victims of violence show them hugging, contemplating and comforting each other as they share the pain of their losses.
"They say it is critical to learn the other side’s narrative, because the only hope for ending the bloody struggle is through empathy and reconciliation," reports the journalist Rina Castelnuovo.
"In sharing the pain of bereavement, many have bonded and work closely together. Reconciliation with the enemy has become the purpose of their lives in the name of their dead."
Not all of us have to deal with such loss, but we all live in neighborhoods and cities where we come in contact with people we don't always like, who have different views from us. If these Israeli's and Palestinians are trying to overcome a future of violence through understanding each other (not necessarily forgiving or forgetting), cannot we be open and find something in common with our not-so-scary-neighbor: republican, democrat, Jew, Muslim, atheist or immigrant?
See the NYT article and more photos here>>
|Jamil Al-Qassas, left, lost his brother, Nasser, 14, who was shot by Israeli soldiers. Boaz Kitain’s son, an Israeli soldier, was killed during his army service - Photo: Rina Castelnuovo|