With the Israeli, Palestinian conflict I keep remembering a conversation….I want to tell you about it ( it’s pretty long ok…) two years ago, I was so naive. (Girl from the west thinks she’s very well informed you know…) I had this friend from a Muslim country. He was studying literature, like me. And naively, I wasn’t very shy about my love for Israel…one day we get talking about that topic and the hostility start rising. He thinks Israel should leave the territory because they were given it by Europe without right. So as a typical western I’m quite the pacifist. I try to talk about coexistence. He vehemently rejects it, leaving the territory, that’s the only option he thinks they have. I ask him…so where do you think Israelis should go if they leave? They have no where to go dude (dude’s name shall remain unmentioned) they were given that land because they needed it, where will they go? And to that he answered me, to Europe from where they came…..so i was perplexed…thinking, can it be possible that he doesn’t know about the holocaust? But i give him the benefit of the doubt, and i say, dude if you knew what happened to them there, why they left Europe, you wouldn’t say such things….i will never forget what he answered, because my heart went cold “what Hitler did to them was a good thing, he should have finished it.”
Such cold blood hatred, not for Israel, but for anyone. Such hatred brewing in the heart of a normal, educated guy, i couldn’t understand it. That i might be in the presence of someone who would murder someone else, was even more unfathomable. That, however, would not be the worst I would hear in the course of the last two years. Guys from three other countries would plainly tell me….i really hate Jews. What they are doing to my brothers, we will avenge it. There will be a day when all Israelis will die. If you met these guys, they are totally inconsequential. They are friendly, respectful, charming (and one of them can even dance pretty well)
Those early conversations in India and the insomniac nights that ensued in endless research, when my naivete was slowly shattered, the pain in my heart for all the violence that hatred has created…that was the beginning of my career.
But in another conversation, a Muslim guy, who had been traumatically affected the USA war, said that he would never hurt an Israeli, or anyone else, if an Israeli needed his help he would help him, of course he added emphatically. The Quran does not sanction hatred, he said, it tells them to help any person in need.
We choose what we want to inherit from our history, and from our religion. And after a certain age, we have no excuses for our choices.