Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gaza Peace Vigil

The day before I left Denver for Jerusalem, I attended a Peace Vigil regarding the conflict in Gaza. It was a very touching event, and my emotions were heightened considering the fact I would be going to Israel within only a couple of days. The coordinators of the vigil were very conscious of keeping the event peaceful and focused on the value of life and an end to conflict, rather than the politics of the situation.
We met at the library, and then walked to the campus greens, stopping 7 times on the way. At each stop, the coordinator briefly talked about what had happened on day one, three, five, and so on, of the conflict, and how many lives had been lost on each day. At that point, over 700 Palestinian lives had been lost due to fighting, as well as around 50 Israeli lives.
The event had 3 speakers. Two of them were university professors, and the third was a Fulbright scholar studying at DU. He is from Gaza, and his family is still there - not allowed to leave. He spoke briefly, but his message tore at my heart. He had lost contact with his family for about 5 days, during which he did not know if they were dead or alive. When he finally re-established contact, he learned of the death of many of his friends and the loss of his home - however, his family was still safe. He spoke about his children, and about how difficult it is to explain to them that not all Israelis, Jewish people and Westerners are not evil or intent on hurting them.

His message is important- the vast majority of people affected by political conflict are just normal citizens. It is women and children. And they don't necessarily understand why someone would want to destroy their homes, their schools, their mosques and churches, and so on. Many such children are losing their families and their lives, and they are growing up in hatred of those responsible for the destruction.

Another generation is growing up full of hatred. Violence breeds more violence. It has to stop.
After the speeches, we placed flags in the lawn for each life that has been lost due to the conflict thus far. The visual effect was sobering.

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1 comment:

Victor said...

Putting a human face on it change it all. Everything must change. I'm reading that book now, by MacLauren. I'm curious if it will give me insight about what could work in the Israeli-Palestinian saga, though I feel I already know the answer.