Friday, 4 May 2007

There Is No Reason

The workshops continue, and life outside The Valley of Peace goes on as usual. Inside, we can talk about peace and reconciliation. We can dicsuss photography and compliment good efforts. Outside, Aisha's brothers are still in prison.

I find her in the corner of the balcony trying to look inconspicuous.
"My brothers just had their second trial," she says under her breath.
"What happened?"
"They'll stay in prison until at least July, and then another trial."
She explained they had been arrested in the middle of the night, during my last visit to Jerusalem in January, on suspicion of planting a bomb. But Aisha's brother says as soon as he heard someone was planning an attack, he left. He had nothing to do with it. There's little evidence, but until the issue is settled, both her brothers remain in prison.

Aisha is afraid. "You can go home," I tell her, "If you need to. There's no reason to stay here..."
"What worries me," she answers, "is that the same thing will happen to my kids. I have small children, and I'm afriad that one night the Israelis will come to our house and arrest them, just like they took my brothers."

She sees the kids in this project like her own children. She loves them like they were her own, and it's clear she wants the best for them. She insists on being in the same room, though we offered her a private room. One night, at around 1am, I find all the Palestinian kids - boys and girls - walking with her from their rooms to a clearing in the woods around the guest house.
"Come with us!" she offers, "they're going out to dance."
"Don't you want to sleep?" I ask her, knowing she's exhausted
"Well, they want me to come with them," she explains. She is a mother to them all, some of whom have lost parents of their own, one assassinated, one accidentally shot during military incursions.

She just wants to find a breakthrough, she explains later of her reasons for joining this project. She simply wants to get this boy to talk, or this girl to sit next to an Israeli and have a normal conversation, or this boy to be the kid he once was before his father was killed. She doesn't think about herself, it's clear, she thinks about them and their own futures.

As Mazen says to us on the final morning "I don't want you to think like me, I want you to think for yourselves. I just want you to think about your futures, that's it."

1 comment:

Greg Hardwick said...

Despite the appearance of my government here in Australia, there are many of us who truly hope for peace. But here, in our comfortable lives, miles from the world's conflicts, it's easy for us to forget the troubles and conflicts other people endure. We have suffered during WW2, but I think, with time, we easily forget and lose empathy as life becomes comfortable again. Thank you for telling this story. After all, this is one planet, and when others suffer, we all suffer - regardless of race or religion.