Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Hope in the Arabs v. Jews

So I woke up today feeling a little discouraged and down...Nothing more, really, than working in the ER until 4am, then sleeping until 2pm to catch up...Waking up in the middle of the day always leaves me feeling a little off the normal cycle of life, more disconnected with the world. I decided to try to pick myself up with some coffee and pumpkin bread and the newspaper, and I found some news, from a hopeless-seeming part of the world that left me really encouraged.

In the recent Israeli attack in Gaza, as usual, people are taking their sides, pointing blame, staunchly refusing to see the other side. Which I find discouraging always. But Prince Saud of Saudi Arabia made the following comment which I find encouraging: "This terrible massacre would not have happened if the Palestinian people were united behind one leadership, speaking in one voice...we are telling our Palestinian brothers that your Arab nation cannot extend a real helping hand if you don't extend your hands to each other in love."

Now, I find that encouraging...No secret or suprise, being an Arab, I have some strong feelings on the conflict in Israel. Although I absolutely do not think that either side is blameless, it makes me a little nuts that the US government and largely the church blindly support Israel, at the expense of the Palestinians. I hate that the government ignores the suffering of the palestinian people, that they ignore that they are living in refugee camps, constantly surrounded in violence, having their homeland yanked from under them, without hope for a future. I hate that the church blindly supports "God's chosen people," without realizing that the Palestinians are also God's children (and many of them Christians!), and that they are also suffering under the hand of injustice...

All that said, it is discouraging to me that people on both sides of the conflict refuse to even consider thinking about the other side's viewpoint. People are so embittered in years of conflict and loyalties that there is no compromise, no understanding. Why I love Prince Saud's remark is this: he is an Arab, he clearly sides with the Arabs, but he doesn't jump to blaming Israel for the recent massacre, he is somewhat retrospective about his own side of the conflict. I know many people would disagree with me on this, but I find this to be a small piece of hope in a world filled with conflict and misunderstanding. He talks about Palestinians loving each other first...And I find a great parallel to our own lives: when we don't love ourselves, we don't love others well...I know I am probably being a little too rainbows and unicorns about this remark, and extrapolating way too much, but i do find it to be a bright spot in a somewhat hopeless world.