These days, more often than not, my thoughts are with friends and colleagues in Israel and Palestine. Israelis and Palestinians who to me are kindred spirits in the search for peace, but who most of the time can’t recognise that kinship in each other. Israelis and Palestinians who now again are enemies rather than neighbours, foes rather than partners.
To know both sides, to know the chances that are buried beneath pain, hatred and blame, to know that there is, indeed, hope, is both gift and curse.
Right now, I am worried senseless for people I know, admire and love on both sides of the Gaza war.
At the same time I cannot but believe that there is always hope.
I live on a continent that has experienced its own share in warfare and separation, a continent the earth of which is imbued with the blood of millions. However, this continent is now inhabited by the offspring of these very millions, living together in peace and prosperity.
My grandfather grew up with the notion that France was the arch enemy, and he had to fight for this in two World Wars; sixty years later, one of my best friends is French.
The pain right now is excruciating. But I cannot give up the belief that there is always hope. There are new generations coming, and they might live to see there what I take for granted here: peace.
Shalom and Salaam.
(This wonderful picture was taken by a man who’s lived his life in Jerusalem as a photographer; his son and grandsons do the same, and have opened a little shop in the Old City where you can buy prints of these precious documents of historic Jerusalem life. This one is hanging over my desk. Contact me if you need more details.)