I don’t read my Facebook newsfeed, but I go into Facebook everyday and actively look for a few people’s posts whom I follow avidly. One of them is Younes Arar.
Some of his posts and photographs are really harrowing and it tears my insides apart with pain and anger. And unlike most secondhand news on Facebook, Younes is actually there, taking the photos, rather than just sharing news without establishing its accuracy. Thus, his posts and photos are raw, angry.
This is a ‘mild’ one about a school being destroyed wantonly and children having nowhere to go:
This is mild, and Younes has posted photos of children being beaten or shot to death. Each time I see those photos, I grieve all over again. I look at the faces of those murdered Palestinians and feel as if I know them personally. And in a sense, I do. Because I was there 20 plus years ago, in West Bank and Gaza during the intifada.
I have resisted sharing those photos even on my lecture tours, and I will never post photos of dying and dead Palestinians stored on my computer, though I am sure I will gain a few sympathisers to the Palestinian cause. Though there was much anger and hate in my heart from my time there (and perhaps from my past), I saw a psychologist instead of venting and creating more polarity in an already divided world.
Why don’t I share, share, share instead? It just takes the press of a button. And my God, what a story!
Because if I do, when will it ever stop? I have friends who set off on this journey with me 20 plus years ago. Instead of Palestine, they were sent to Jerusalem. And so we arrived, idealistic 20-somethings, with no affiliations but only the desire to do good for this violent, fractured part of the world. It was during the intifada, so both sides saw lots of action. Those who went to Palestine saw children and women being killed by the soldiers; those who went to Jerusalem saw families being blown up by suicide bombers. We came back angry, and feeling strongly that “our side” were being slaughtered.
But if I posted my photos and rhetoric, and “the other side” does the same, when will it ever stop? We just end up pumping more hate and anger – under the guise of educating others and bringing their attention to the injustices – into an already angry, hate-filled world. The Zionist leaders or the Arab world are never going to change their behaviour from reading my posts.
Does that mean ignore what’s going on?
NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT.
I promised a dying 19-year-old that I will never forget her. Her leg was amputated, and I gave her one half of my boots that she admired to cheer her up. We talked about the future. Then she died. I will fight on for her and many others like her, whose dying countenance I had held as they died . But I will not fight hate with hate. I chose positive, affirmative action.
So you think I am an idealistic hippy living in an airy-fairy world? After all, what could my words of love and hope ever achieve anything in a nitty-gritty world? Why not “speak up” instead?
I speak up, but with love. Because I strongly believe that this is the way we achieve results. Fight hate with love, not add more hate.
I wrote about a Syrian girl whose life had been torn apart by the conflict. I wrote about her story and my desire to help her to heal her world. I set up a campaign to raise money to pay for Ayda’s education. Countless people chipped in. You can read about Ayda by clicking on the links at the foot of this post.
One lady from Malaysia, a mother of two young children who works hard for a living, donated U$250. She is Chinese, no prior interest in the conflict, does not know much about what’s going on in this fight, but my words have moved her to send a considerably large sum for the cause. Not only that, she has a conference call scheduled with Ayda next week. She also hopes to visit Ayda in Lebanon next year.
And she is not the only one.
So I humbly ask you, please join me in healing the world with love and kindness. Stop the divide ❤ ❤ ❤
Posts about Ayda;
(Main photo: the drawing from a Palestinian youth that I had tattooed on my arm. I will fight on, with love).