The letter below is an example to the magnitude of human spirit. These are the words of Dr. Iz A – Din Abu Al Ayyash, a Palestinian father from Gaza who lost his three daughters and niece in 2009 during the previous war between Gaza and Israel. His words were published in the Israeli press during the last violent phase just a few days ago. I felt compelled to share them with those who cannot read Hebrew. Any mistakes in translation are mine only.
“People ask me over the last few days if the happening in Gaza opens the wound in the heart. Truth is, that wound has never been closed, hence there is nothing to open. I speak every day with my brothers and relatives in Gaza, with my nephews and friends. When we say good bye I know there’s a real chance we’d never speak again. As if they all stand in line, in the line of dying. No-one knows who is going to be next.
People ask if I’m afraid. Of course I am. I’m terrified. Hoffired. And over the past few days I feel that I need to overcome rage though those who know me know I don’t have an angry temper at all. It’s hard to imagine that following the horrible events of the last war, a war that did not lead to peace cause war cannot lead to peace; once again missiles are falling like rain from the sky.
People ask me if the events of the last few days takes me and my kids back to those days when two missiles landed on our home and killed three of my daughters – Bisan, Miyar and Iaa and my niece Nour. I answer that this day is with us every single moment of every single day. The moment before when they were alive and the moment after when their heads and hands were scattered all over the bedroom. And I know that with every passing moment more parents are losing their sweet innocent children in this war. Yes I’m scared. I can’t sleep. But even worse, I’m angry.
I know most Israelis truly believe that Israel wants peace. They believe Israeli is simply waiting for the Palestinians to reach out their hands in peace. I believe that from the bottom of my heart. The problem is that their leadership is not acting in this way at all and it is your responsibility to be more aware to what is actually happening.
Truth is that one side is controlled to the smallest details of everyday life and the other side is free in every detail. One is an occupier the other is occupied. That’s why the situation isn’t equal we must not get confused about it. Everyone is arguing about the political facts of who did what to whom and when. These are not the truly important questions when we discuss peace and war.
We all need peace; we’re all in terrible danger, not just physical, but also mental and spiritual. Only awareness can change the situation. Violence will not make a difference. Peace is not what we achieve once the missiles stop dropping. Peace is an inner state of faith, security, serenity and compassion. It is the duty of each and every one of us to think independently and refuse to think in terms of them and us. Our children and theirs. Our dead ones and theirs. Instead we must wake up and remember we are interconnected and always will be. We are part of each other and these are our children, our problem, our war, our tragedy, our dead ones, our future and our peace.
I know that vigilance and violence always come from a dark place and only mutual respect, talking to each other as equals, will lead to a possibility of true peace. I know most people in our region crave peace. I’ve suffered terrible humiliation in my life as a refugee. Yes, I’m a refugee, my family had lands and houses within what is now known as Israel and I’m a refugee again now that I’ve lost my beloved daughters to Israeli missiles. But I have met other Israelis – colleagues and patients as well as strangers with incredible generosity, compassion and grace. I will not hate. No matter what happens to me. I am free to choose my inner response.
I ask everyone to keep a heart free of hatred and take the necessary steps to stop this terrible madness. Immediately. Before the next baby dies”.
Dr. Iz A-Din Abu Al Ayyash previously an MD at Shifa hospital lost his three daughters and niece in 2009 during a military operation when an Israeli missile hit his home in Gaza.
Printed by Immi Ginzburg