My Enemy Forgotten
an article by Rabeh Ghadban
"It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business." --Mohandas K. Gandhi
Hands clutched, tears flow down my face, the pain of seeing your country brought to rubble once again. Questions fill my head. Why us, why now, and who is to blame? One thing is certain, as in every other conflict, it will be the people on both sides that are left with no choice but to suffer from this war.
Without notice my mood changes. As I stand on stage with my fellow brothers and sisters, an unshakable feeling of hope fills my heart as together we raise our hands honoring the enduring determination of the human spirit. Confidence is quickly regained, as we know there are none better in embodying this uncompromising spirit than the people of our country. Confidence turns into certainty; Lebanon will rise once more.
The setting is a study abroad opportunity in Chania, Greece, the activity for the night is cultural presentations, and the people are representatives from the US, the Middle East and the Balkans. As I walk off the stage, I embrace my Lebanese companions as we all feel removed, yet intimately connected to this unfair war. What happens next is something that I never expected and will never forget. To all of our surprise, the first people standing there to welcome us off the stage was the Israeli delegation. Like us their eyes filled with tears, as they too felt the anguish of war and together we embraced one another, forgetting, if only for a moment, the painful memory of our countries histories.
From this interaction, it had become clear to me what this program had been trying to convey. I realized that I can no longer believe in the illusion that differences matter more than our common humanity, as the real road to consolidation began through dialogue with those you are most unlikely to accept. I learned to set aside my political convictions and disregard the boundaries that separated our neighboring countries, in an attempt to recognize the facts that lie on the surface, understanding that these people are no different than me.
For more information on this learning opportunity you can visit www.tfas.org.
Question(s) related to this article:
Youth as future peacebuilders, What project based learning initiatives are available?
* * * * *
Latest reader comment:
Yes! Youth can and does make a difference, if given the opportunity.
In all of our inter-action on Peace youth played a very important role.
Million Minutes of Peace: Signing of the Manifesto initiative, more than 900 signature were submitted by us.
In 2001 at 1pm. we had a young man of 10 lead the City Officials in the First Steps into the International Decade of Peace 2001 -2010
Every year on September 21st an activity led by youth is held, the last two years we planted trees in memory of those who lost their lives to natural disasters, or participated in a walk led by the Minister of Education with many schools involved.
Yes! Youth can and does play a very important role in the promotion of peace.
Trinidad and Tobago