Rest in peace, Shimon Peres

And peace is the operative word here as he fought for it in the Middle East for many years…

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He wasn’t always like that, he began his career as a hardliner, was known as a ‘hawk’ who later changed his ideas and became a peacemaker, a ‘dove’ so to speak. His ideas on peace for the Middle East, the Oslo Accords he helped achieve, gave me such hope in the mid 1990s! He won the Nobel Peace Prize for the Oslo Accords…

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The Nobel Peace prize laureates for 1994 in Oslo: PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres, Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin.

Sadly, the peace I had so hoped for never really happened… Things went haywire after Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated and with Netanyahu as president then and again now, all real peace endeavors seem to be vaporized. I have lived in Israel and the fact that the peace process is stuck after the hope there was 20 years ago still breaks my heart.

I have been watching Peres’s funeral on TV here this morning and Bill Clinton’s  and Barack Obama’s speeches were very powerful to me. Like them, I still hope for such dreamers as Shimon Peres to stand up in the Middle East and make the dreams for peace come true.

Shimon Peres, alav ha-shalom (peace be upon him). And may peace be upon the whole region hopefully one day.

“People are always ready to fight…”

The other day I was rewatching an old Ingrid Bergman movie from 1958 called The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. With the news in the world right now, this little line that Ingrid Bergman utters in resignation in this movie has been playing in my mind on loop today…

I so very much feel the pain of that little line “people are always ready to fight” 

I hear Donald Trump talk about building walls and deporting people and calling for torture. I hear all this pro-Brexit scaremongering nonsense and a lady saying in a TV debate that Bexit needs to happen to “stop the dilution” of the British people (pardon me??? Makes me think of Hitler not wanting the Jews to ‘dilute’ the ‘Aryan race’)! I see Russian and British soccer fans attack each other in France during the European Soccer Championships and people saying that more needs to be done to keep fan groups apart. But why, I ask, do they even have to fight in the first place? And then today I hear some nutjob has killed 50 people in Orlando in a LGBT nightclub! How absolutely tragic! Will the hatred bring about more cycles of hatred and violence?

Why why why this need to always fight? Can’t we disagree with words and discussion instead of killing each other or calling for violence and exclusion? Can’t all weapons and violence just be banned from this world altogether and forever? I feel so sad and helpless and just hope that one day the Trumps of this world and hooligans and scaremongerers and ISIS and wackos obtaining guns to shoot people will be a thing of the past. How much longer can we keep fighting each other? I truly understand there are no easy answers! What I do know is that this endless cycle of hatred will get us nowhere in the end…

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As Ingrid Bergman says in the clip above “my conscience is my own affair, and theirs is theirs, and yours is yours”, so think what you will of this. I just know that my conscience tells me that violence and guns and exclusion and despots like Trump can not be the answer.

A message of peace and building a future

I just listened to an amazing speech… I can’t say much more about this, other than that this is possibly the best speech I have ever heard on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Agreed, it’s from the Israeli “side” but with a little twist: it was spoken by an Israeli diplomat of Palestinian descent named George Deek. I think he had some very powerful things to say, the speech touched me to the very core……

To quote from the end of this speech:

“We cannot change the past, but we can secure a future for our next generations. And if we want to mend the past some day, we can help Palestinian refugees have a normal life. We can be sincere about our past and learn from our mistakes. And we can unite Muslims, Jews and Christians to protect our right to be different and by that preserve our humanity.”

Here is a 30 minute video of the speech, very much worth the listen. Please do, if you care about peace in the Middle East.  Even if you don’t agree, if you listen to it seriously it at the very least will give food for thought.

For some reason I can’t embed the video, so here’s a still of George Deek from the video and a link to the video itself:

Let us move forward and learn to live together and build a FUTURE!