Peace in the Middle East

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I want to comment on something that happened to me today. It has a link to my current blog about Israel.

I was in getting into my car in a drugstore parking lot and I saw an older gentleman.  He was trying to reach into the passenger side door of the car next to me. The window cracked down a bit but his arm wouldn’t fit in. It looked like he was trying to open up the door. He looked looked exasperated, and I was pretty sure he’d locked his keys inside the car.

I could have moved on and ignored him, but I know what it’s like to be in need of help and I was sure, just by watching him, that he needed someone to assist.

I asked if he needed help and he confirmed that,  yes, he’d locked his keys in the car. He said he was trying to press a button on the inside to unlock the doors. I found a snow brush in my car (mid summer and I haven’t put it in the garage, but maybe that’s a good thing). I was able to reach the button but no luck unlocking the car.

“I live close by,” he said, with a distinct middle eastern accent. “I will just go home and get my other keys.”

I asked where he lived. It was not a close walk, but only a few minutes by car. I said I would take him and then drive him back to his car. He was so gracious and thankful.

On the way back he said, “I have lived here for 30 years and there is always someone nice who will help out.”

I asked where he came from. He said “It’s a long story. I’m originally, from Africa, but I grew up in the Middle East, in Lebanon.”

I said I had just come from a trip to Israel and remarked about how beautiful it was there.

“It is,” he said. “But there is too much trouble. I would go back but not until people stop fighting there. It is not safe.”

“It doesn’t matter what you believe in,” he said. “God is God and we all believe in one God. There is no reason for the hate and violence. Everyone should live in peace.”

I knew what he meant of course. And I wished, at that moment, that everyone in the Middle East was like this man. Peace in the Middle East. Is it a dream or will it ever be reality? I wish I could say that in my lifetime it will happen, but I’m not hopeful. What do you think?

Back to our journey through Israel in my next post.

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10 responses »

  1. Nice piece, Suzanne. It was very kind of you to help this man. Peace in the Middle East is a complex issue that is a little over my head. But I do hope for it one day. Can’t wait for your next post.

    Kevin

  2. I totally agree. If only the setiments of the people could be heard world wide, not from the so called religious leaders and polititians, all with their own agenda.
    I think of the difference our Rabbi made here in London bringing all the faiths together for dialogue and prayer.
    I’ll never forget one of the leaders of the Moslim community walking up to me after the Rabbis funeral and giving me a hug with tears in his eyes. His only comment.
    “We’ve lost a great man who did so much to further interfaith dialogue in our community”

  3. Oh, that there was peace everywhere in our troubled world. It begins in each of our own hearts and minds. Good blog, Suzanne. Looking forward to hearing more about your trip.

  4. It does not surprise me at all that you helped this man in the way that you did. You are just that kind of person.

    If everyone in the world could just reduce their conflicts and beliefs to a conversation between two people and forget the ideology, then there would be peace in the Middle East, and everywhere else.

    As John Lennon wrote, “Imagine there’s no country. Nothing to kill or die for. …..and no religion too.”

    I don’t think he was promoting the abolition of countries and religions, but bemoaning how much killing and destruction there has been in the name of country and/or religion.

    If we can imagine peace, we can make it happen–even if it’s just one or two people at a time.

    Thank you so much for this wonderful piece.

  5. Suzanne,

    That was so nice of you to help out that gentleman (but hardly surprising).

    I toured Israel in 2000 with a group of my classmates and professors from Wycliffe College. It was certainly one of the highlights of my life!

    And I remember the tour guide, who also taught at the Hebrew University, kept reminding us to pray for peace in Jerusalem – – a site holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

    Grace

  6. when will we ever reach a point in the world where people do not insist that we all “believe in one god”? We don’t. And we shouldn’t have to.

  7. I see you’ve written a book bit.ly/d969sA. Interesting. As a journalist I believe in freedom of speech. My blog is open to opinions pro and con. Thanks for your insight.

  8. Suze,

    Mea culpa – Sorry it took so long to read your blog. This is a fine way to store treasured memories from a trip of a lifetime. I loved the photos and felt they added so much to your story.

    This piece is a little gem tucked in to your adventure. There was more than serendipity at work throwing the two of you together -extending your enjoyment of the adventure. And why travel if you cannot take the experience and change your life and perception of the world a little bit.

    Well done – More! More!, Mary Ann

  9. Serendipity was one thing that happened a lot to us when we were in Israel. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. More soon as I file articles for a paying gig! p.s. you can sign up on the home page to get a notice when I post a new blog entry. It is a small portion of the blog posting, and you can decide whether you want to click through and read the rest.

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