… “The beginning of the end of violence comes when we see the humanity in the other. The beginning of violence comes when we forget the humanity in the other.”
Closeness goes with empathy, dignity, reconciliation, peace and, ultimately, love.
Distance goes with objectification, labels, animosity, hatred and, ultimately, violence and war.
In the most extreme of cases, the parents in this Israeli-Palestinian parent circle live out love. They don’t talk about peace, they make peace. They make peace with their choices. They make peace with their comfort and support of each other. They make peace every time they have to explain to family and community members why they are not seeking revenge. They make peace every time they choose to channel the hurt and pain not into destroying, but creating beauty.
As this father said in broken and heavily accented English, I don’t want to try revenge. Revenge doesn’t work.
After a while, I began to think of my life against the backdrop of their story. I began to think about my family, my friends and my community against this story of reconciliation and redemption.
What divides us?
What separates people who were once friends?
Is it simply distance? Have we generalized or assumed the other person’s story or motives? Have we stopped seeing their humanity—their hurt—and substituted only their guilt, their wrong and the justice we seek from them?
Have we let little things create so much space that our insecurities and imagination have created a monster that doesn’t exist?
Have we returned perceived slights with violence of our own? Have we traded slander received with gossip of our own?
Have we walked away from peace talks because we are right, we deserve justice, we are entitled to pity, being the victim, perpetuating hostility?