I SHALL NOT HATE (Extract)
by Izzeldin Abuelaish
…This catastrophe of the deaths of my daughters and niece has strengthened my thinking, deepened my belief about how to bridge the divide. I understand down to my bones that violence is futile. It is a waste of time, lives, and resources, and has been proven only to beget more violence. It does not work. It just perpetuates a vicious cycle. There's only one way to bridge the divide, to live together, to realise the goals of two peoples: we have to find the light to guide us to our goal. I'm not talking about the light of religious faith here, but light as a symbol of truth. The light that allows you to see, to clear away the fog - to find wisdom. To find the light of truth, you have to talk to, listen to, and respect each other. Instead of wasting energy on hatred, use it to open your eyes and see what's really going on. Surely, if we can see the truth, we can live side by side….(p.196)
I believe in coexistence, not endless cycles of revenge and retribution. And possibly the hidden truth about Gaza can only sink in when it is conveyed by someone who does not hate. I've been tested by brutal circumstances the whole of my life, as have many people in Gaza. Until now I have seen each hardship as an opportunity to make myself stronger, as an energizer that propels me forward, as a weapon so as to be better armed for the next struggle, but maybe the tests have been designed to strengthen me as a messenger who can help bridge the divide in the Middle East. I am not a prophet; I'm a human being and a believer who is trying to accept that what happened to my family was God's plan. The perpetrator was man, the violence man-made, but surely my mission is to try my hardest to ensure that the consequences lead to good, not to everincreasing evil, violence and despair.
I believe everything happens for a reason, and that even my family's terrible loss serves a purpose. The deaths of my daughters and niece opened the Israelis' eyes to the suffering on the other side. That's the message I want to spread: allow yourself to see what it's like to be in our shoes. The tragedy certainly led to the cease-fire and opened the hearts and minds of the Israeli public, the whole Palestinian diaspora, and the international community to the misery the Gazans face day after day. I believe that there is a better future for us because of what this tragedy taught the world. There is hope; the past is only there to learn from…(p.198)
With kind permission of the writer © Izzeldin Abuelaish
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