The Grief of War Comes Full Circle: The Essence of Race Relations

Sometimes one person can change the tide. A single life. A single story. A single face. Someone to whom we can relate, someone who we can imagine as a friend. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish may now, to his own horror, fit the profile of one who can help change the course of the violence in some small measure in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Dr. Abuelaish is an unusual man, a Palestinian doctor who reports for Israeli television. Though he lives in Gaza, he was educated in Israel, speaks Hebrew, and works in an Israeli hospital. Dr. Abuelaish has been giving Israelis daily reports on the military campaign in Gaza, and he is a man who works for peace, who builds bridges between worlds. This past Friday, he witnessed three of his daughters and a niece killed by Israeli bombs (and another daughter seriously wounded). His first panicked moments of terror were broadcast live on Israeli television.

WATCH a three minute video of this television segment.

As we all know, there is often little compassion between warring people, little willingness to recognize the humanity in one another. After all, how would it be possible to kill others if we didn’t see them as less human than us? How would Palestinians find justification for launching rockets into Jewish civilian neighborhoods? How do Jews justify bombing Palestinian civilian homes in their search for their enemy?

But ironically, Dr. Abuelaish is the face of a friend to Israelis. That very simple fact is what has the power to make a difference, to crack open hearts so that enemies begin to see one another as human, as suffering, as wanting the same things for themselves and their families.

So what if we apply this to our own wars? What if we knew the faces and the stories and the pain of hundreds of thousands of grieving Iraqis as well as we are coming to know the faces of the passengers on U.S. Air Flight 1549 (the plane that landed in the Hudson River)? What if, just as we saw ourselves in the cracking composure of the father who could return home to kiss his five year old daughter after surviving a plane crash, we could see ourselves in each relationship and family that is lost and torn and broken by war? How would “our” Iraq war be different? How would we be different?

And what if we step back and apply this to the way we war with one another figuratively? How differently would we treat people who we hate from a distance if we could see ourselves in them, and if we could actually see the shared pain we all carry within?

So this story is not simply about Israelis and Palestinians; it’s about all of us.

WATCH another video that includes reactions from Dr. Abuelaish’s Jewish colleagues.

157 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    The pain that Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is feeling right now must be unbearable. To witness the death of someone close to you is enough to break the spirit of anyone, even someone as influential as Dr. Abuelaish. To witness how broken he was over the death of his daughter and niece is absolutely heartbreaking. If only his enemies who had caused this pain could see it they might be regretful of their terrible actions. This war between Gaza and Israel has taken the lives of many people. This killing of Dr. Abuelaish’s family is certainly not the first, but imagine his emotion displayed on the faces of all the grieving families who have lost their sons and daughters. Though they are anonymous faces, their grievance is no less painful. Why does it take the witnessing a popular person’s heartbreak to feel the same feeling within ourselves? To realize, “holy crap, this is real, people are hurting everywhere, now let’s do something about it!” Why don’t we care more when people die during war? How did we become so desensitized to death? This is what has happened to the enemies as well. They could care less who they kill or how many people they’ve effected by doing so. I wonder, if they were to see the face of true grief and mourning, would they feel differently? Would they have the heart to put themselves in the others’ shoes? Being the monsters that they are to start a war in the first place, I do not think that it would make a difference to them. The monsters of war seem to have to heart at all. They have the nerve to kill a mother and child point-blank. They have the guts to strap a bomb to their chest and rush into a crowded area, taking their own lives for the sake of killing their “enemies;” innocent people with no direct relation to the war they are fighting. What is the use of killing innocent people? Soldiers in Iraq face death on a daily basis. Families of Americans are torn from the loss of a loved one all of the time. Hopes are held high in many households that their brother, son, or husband will come back safely. I believe that the tragedies of the Iraq war are not shown as often so many of us may forget it’s even happening. We focus on a foreign war when one is happening with men from our own country. Regardless, I do not understand how people have the nerve to support war at all. Hopefully, someday the wars of the world will come to an end, once we all really understand that the value of a human is not just held within one person, but within all the lives they have touched and when you kill that one person, you are also killing all of their loved ones. Perhaps it will take something as drastic as the death of someone close to a leader of war to have them realize what they are really doing.

  • Mikey Z says:

    Wars are entirely political. The citizens of the U.S. have little to no say about the wars our government gets into. George Bush’s approval rating reached new lows largely because of the dissatisfaction citizens had with the war, coupled with a struggling economy. The decision to declare war is left to Congress. Personally, I would like to believe our government always has the best interests of the citizens of our country at heart, but I can not fully believe that. As I sit here now, watching Miss USA, I come to realize what really matters to U.S. citizens. More people are interested in watching the Miss USA pageant than in the country we are at war with. If asked to point out on a map which country Iraq is, it would be tragic how few people could successfully do this. When there are more votes cast for American Idol than there are for the President of the United States of America, there is a problem in our country that is fundamentally problematic in our society. This is not something that can be changed easily. There are no easy solutions. So the question posed about war, civilian casualties, and the lack of American sympathy towards the war’s victims is easily answered. America is a country of apathetic and ignorant people. It is incredibly surprising to me the amount of people that do not know we are truly at war. “Oh the Iraq thing with Osama. That’s not a war…is it?” The media does not help this cause either. To continue fighting the war successfully, one side has to be painted as evil. It must be black and white, there is no other way. If the humanistic side of our enemies is shown, than repeated attacks against them begin to be questioned. So instead, our enemies are viewed collectively as the evil Middle East. There is no such thing as children, women, or civilians. Instead, every enemy of the state is a terrorist, Arab insurgent that provides real danger to us. I am a strong believer that U.S. media is biased. To what degree can be easily argued, but many people who have spent time in other countries can vouch to the biased reporting of American media. Rarely are there stories of victims on the other side, only our soldiers violently taken down. The true nature of the war is largely unknown to most of us. While the media can be partly to blame, too many people just have no interest in the war. However, if we find we are at war with ourselves, the problem hits home harder. Citizens of Iraqi descent must constantly worry about their families or friends that are in danger every day. Imagine if a war was being fought where your parents, grandparents, cousins, any family lives. War is a complicated issue, one that most citizens do not understand. I don’t think the feeling of apathy will ever go away, but it all starts with education. The more we eliminate ignorance in people’s minds, the more people will begin to see how wrong the U.S. can be at times. That said, we live in the greatest country in the world, a leader of the free world. We all have responsibility, as citizens of the world, to do what is right and moral.

  • Raff BigCat says:

    Straight from the man him self, my main man Edwin Starr, “War HUH, GOOD GOD YALL what is it good for!?” My brothers and sisters do you also read this and think to yourself how messed up this is? I want to talk about this in a serious manner but unfortunately that is not going to happen. Let me speak by stories of stuff I can better relate too. Ok, got it.

    Personally, I am a strong believer that Pokémon is way better than Digimon. Being at least a fifty time Pokémon Master, because I caught all 151 Pokémon on Blue version and beat the Elite Four numerous times, I grew a strong relationship with my friends, a.k.a. Pokémon. Now this relationship caused us to prevail through thick and thin. I would always keep potions with me and especially antidotes. Every once in a while I’d let them have a rare candy because we were just that good of friends. It started with just Squirtle and I going through the Viridian Forest. We were slamming down Caterpies like it wasn’t a thing. And let me tell you this. If a Metapod tried to raise up, I would bubble beam him straight to his maker. This went on and on until I became a Pokémon Master. I would never let the Pokémon that I had relationships with die in battle though. Now you’re probably starting to see how my journey reminds me of our nation’s troubles.

    Here’s another thought. If we were friends with our enemies, we probably wouldn’t have wars. While writing that, I kind of thought to myself, “Duh… What kinds of friends kill each other?” Bad friends. Bad friends kill each other. Good friends love each other and make it to the Pokémon League and live happy lives. They might even catch a Legendary bird Pokémon along the way. That, my good friends, would be sweet. So if we were friends with our enemies then it would be so much better. Iraq would be all like, “Oh American buddies, do not worry about all the trouble you caused.” And America could answer something like, “Yeah, guys. All that drama we caused. Totally uncalled for. My bad.” Then we would compromise like friends. (This is like when I evolved Evee into Flareon so he could still be cute, even though I wanted Jolteon so he could electrically blast some non-friend Pokémon into oblivion!)

    I can now safely say this. I feel like friends would in fact, NOT kill each other. Yes. There would be a change in the way conflicts are handled. Now we just need to come up with some jokes to tell our enemies so that we can bond and become friends. Then we just have to worry about Iraq sleeping with America’s girlfriend and vice versa. Other then that, I think everything would be peachy.

  • Anonymous says:

    Although the world is filled with people of different “races” and ethnicities, all in all, people have the same desires for themselves, their families and friends. We all want safety and security. We want to matter and to be important to someone and loved by those what matter to us. So then why is our history and the present world covered with bloodshed and war? Power. Power can be anything from land to money to control, but it’s always the same.

    The Israelis and Palestinians are fighting a losing war. It will continuously circle and cause only more pain and suffering for both parties. “Our” war with Iraq has caused so much suffering in the world. Americans and Iraqis alike are losing so many lives. Families are being killed, innocent children and their parents, and for what? It seems hard to believe the pain and suffering that so many families endure due to these wars.

    So many innocent people get killed, even the loved ones of people who take steps every day to work towards peace like Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. He is living in a nightmare right now, having recently losing his wife and now three of his daughters and a niece dying in Israeli attacks. Although this is a true tragedy in every possible way, perhaps this will open people’s eyes to the unnecessary harm that is caused every day. Civilians who are just trying to carry on with their lives get bombed and massacred. He has touched and saved so many Israeli lives, even though he lives in Gaza. Then for Israelis to target his house and kill his family seems barbaric and horrific. Actions like this happen frequently between the Palestinians and Israelis as well as every other warring country in the world.

    These wars for power need to stop. They do not accomplish anything positive. Thousands of innocent lives are taken almost every day because of these wars for power. Even if civilian life becomes safe again, the soldiers of these countries still have families that are affected by the war. My grandfather fought in World War II as a driver in Germany. He said that occasionally he would have to shoot people from the truck in order to get where they needed to go and it was procedure then to get the wallet/identification of the deceased soldier. He said that was the worst part of the War for him, having to collect the identity of a man that he did not know and flip through his wallet only to see pictures of his loved ones and family. All he could think about was his family back home in New York and how it could have been the other way around. Although he continued to serve our country through the rest of the War, he said that he was never the same after he returned home.

    If all people felt as my grandfather did and were affected by stories such as that of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, then perhaps we could find an alternative to war. Maybe there could be a future without killing people over power and the world could finally be at peace and countries would prosper and millions of innocent lives could be saved.

  • Jillian says:

    The loss of a family member, a friend, or even an acquaintance is one of the most difficult parts of living your life. You have to learn to face the day without seeing, talking, or hearing that person ever again. Therefore, it would be one of the most horrifying things to have to watch three of your own daughters be taken by a war that you are working your very best to attempt to end. Dr. Abuelaish and many others who have lost their loved ones as a consequence of fighting are the ones who really and truly know what this pain feels like. However, everyone who has not had to face this sort of tragedy knows the immense feeling of loss and sadness that comes with death. Humans all have feelings of sympathy and passion towards others, whether they choose to show them or not. When it comes to war and fighting, most of the time, those passionate feelings towards others go out the window and feelings of anger and judgment prevail.
    When the United States began to fight the war on terrorism, many Americans were very much for it. They were so angry and hurt by the attacks on September 11th that they were more than willing to get out there and accomplish pay back for what the terrorists had done to our country, and our citizens. In this case, and in many others like it, country’s leaders and citizens are quick to act on their first instinct. They want to deal with these issues head on and do not take the time to realize what difficulties may lie ahead. All of the emotions that they have built up, paired with little time to think makes them completely blind to the fact that they may be hurting innocent human being as a result of their approach.
    Therefore, countries, leaders, and individuals need to begin to take the time to think before making a decision. No matter the enormity of the decision, everything deserves a second look. People need to think and weight the options, instead of talking and acting more. They need put their emotions aside for one moment, and truly consider what others around them may be feeling. Maybe if we take that extra time for careful examination, we can find a better solution for the problem, no matter what it is. On the other hand, if a country does choose to begin war, this extra time to think everything out will give them more of an opportunity to seek out what they are truly trying to accomplish, while attempting to avoid at all possible the injury of innocent bystanders. We all just need to stop and think for a minute. Take a deep breath, and figure out the best way to handle things before blindly jumping into the problem.

  • Anonymous says:

    Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish must be feeling a whole lot of pain right now to witness the death of his 3 daughters and a niece.
    I feel like people and countries go to war because they feel a need to defend. They feel a need to protect their countries. It has to do with politics. I do not think people go to countries go to war because they feel like one country is inferior to another. I do not think they see the opposing group as less than human. I do think the only justification they go to war with one another is because of their differences in views. One country/radical group wants to do something completely different from another.
    I believe the two opposing sides are so caught up in their own worlds and minds that they do not care to think about a lot of similarities they all possess. It is easy to see the differences, but hard to see the similarities. I think the reason for each side not being able to see the similarities is because they are so caught up with what is wrong with the other side. They only want to see these differences so they can justify being at war with one another. People like to see negatives before positives and if this was the other way around, there would not be any wars or violence. I guess it is just human nature to see negatives before positives.
    If opposing sides did slow down to think about the similarities, I do not think there will be any war. If people understood that even though they have different views from one another, they still have family and because they care greatly about, then there would be second thoughts about hurting one another. People do not realize the gravity of witnessing a loved one being killed until it happens to them. If people would stop and think before they hurt someone, “What if this was my wife or daughter,” there will be a world of difference. A lot of people do not think before they act. I have to admit that I am guilty of acting before I think and once again, it is human nature. People get so caught up in the heat of the moment that is it hard to think about how you would feel if it was the other way around.
    The idea of viewing similarities as opposed to differences and putting yourself in another’s shoes will cease a lot of fire and wars between each country but it is a lot easier said than done. The idea is just the beginning to change and if this idea was applied to more people, then changes will start to be seen.

  • Anonymous says:

    It is really an eye opener to see that someone who is striving for peace is now going through such immense pain. The war has gotten so out of hand and it’s crazy that we can go day to day and not think twice about the grief of people like Dr. Abuelaish and his family. To think that this is only one very unfortunate event that has taken place out of so many that we will never even know about makes the reality of it even harder to accept. It’s almost as if we are blind to what is happening because we are fortunate enough to live in a country that is good at ignoring the world around us, if you want to call that fortunate. Everyday someone speaks up about taking a stand and ending the war or doing something to help, but every second wasted is another lost life. At the same time it’s hard to really do anything to stop the terror. People try every day to take a stand but in the end we can’t make the decision and that really makes it just that much more unbearable. My dad is currently serving his third year in Iraq as a captain of his troop. He is in charge of the lives of so many people and each day I think about him and his safety. He is just as vulnerable as any of the civilians who live there. I want as much as everyone else to end the war and the pain and suffering of others. I think Obama has good intentions of pulling out the troops, but it scares me that he is trying to do it so soon. If everyone just leaves think of all the chaos that would continue, the lives that would be lost, the families to be torn apart like the doctors. There is a time to leave, but this extremely unfortunate event just shows that we are not ready. It would only continue and get worse because the people over there fighting to help control the disorder would be gone. All that hard work for years now would be lost. It’s really hard to take a position on the war being a daughter of a captain. I want it to end and I want him to come home, but I feel like there is more that needs to be done. How much more misery do people really have to withstand? It’s so sad that everyone causing all of this pain can’t realize what they are doing to the people around them, and in this case, the people that really seem to care the most. I wonder what else has to happen before someone responsible for the agony sees what the war has come to. It’s a really scary world over there, and we are lucky to not be in the position of those who are literally living in hell, but so much more still needs to be done to stop more lives from being lost.

  • Holly Colbo says:

    The story of Dr. Izzeldin is a devastating one, but war is inevitable and the fact is it wasn’t a war against Dr. Izzeldin. It may be cynical to say so, when his family was broken because of the actions of others but that is what war is, messy, and those that are not intended to get hurt, due. But the real thought provoking question that comes to mind from this entry is not the discussion of war but compassion for others. How is it that we cannot relate to others we fight in wars with? The answer is that we chose not to have compassion for them by keeping them at a distance. We do this so we are not plagued with guilt. Take the news and the government for instance they have a lot of power as to what we see from the Iraq War. We hear about devastating stories like the one above but rarely see pictures and video, which have more effect on an audience. Who wants to feel bad about themselves and country while sitting at the dinner table on a Sunday night? Media plays off of the consciences of its audience So for one, we don’t see the graphic and most violent aspects of the war and chose to believe they don’t exist even if they do. But on the flip side we are also desensitized to images and stories of violence and this may be because the media makes these events so distant to us. Because these events are not happening on our soil and happening to those we know we can truly not relate. We see them as “those people.” This is something that is hard to combat though, because we see ourselves as in the right and others as in the wrong. So when wars start we see this affecting “the bad people” not the innocent that get caught in this fire like the family of Dr. Izzeldin. But what we have to remember is that this is how the other side views it as well. When our innocent citizens get hurt we blame it on the entire country instead of a select few that chose to act the way they did. Until both sides realize this, nothing will be understand. We all have families, sisters, brothers, dads, mothers, and children and until we can see we are one and the same despite out cultural differences things wont be resolved. We are threatened by each other because of an extreme select of individuals, we feel the need to guard and protect those that we know. But isn’t that natural? The fact is things would be extremely different if we could relate to Iraqis because we knew them. But we don’t we have no connection and loyalty to them.

  • Anonymous says:

    No matter where we live, what color our skin is, or what language we speak people all around the world have things in common. We all strive for happiness and success, we want to be loved by others, and we try to make our loved ones proud. Even though people all around the world have so much in common, our differences are what we allow to separate us from each other. You can look back into history as far as you want, but unfortunately it has always been this way. People seeking power and control have been tearing apart civilizations for centuries, but maybe if these people had been aware of how similar the people they fighting were to themselves, our history could have been different.
    When people are off fighting wars they look at the people on the opposing sides as people putting our nation and loved ones at stake, not like someone that is trying to make their father proud or protecting their country just like they are doing. Maybe a situation like Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s has the potential to open up the eyes of people at war. Maybe the Israeli soldiers will look at Dr. Abuelaish and realize that those children could have been their own daughters and niece. Dr. Abuelaish, even though he was from Gaza, was an important part of the Israeli community and saved many lives, some even Israeli soldiers. How could Israeli soldiers target his house when he had been doing so many positive things for their community?
    For Dr. Abuelaish to be from Gaza and have the courage and inspiration to help people from a land that had killed his wife and innocent citizens shows what an amazing person he is. He witnessed civilian bombings and the destruction of the towns around him on a normal basis, but still had hope, even after losing his wife. Maybe Dr. Abuelaish can use his unique position as a Gaza citizen, but also an important part of the Israeli community, as leverage to help the people of these countries come to the realization of what is really important and how unnecessary this war is. Innocent civilians are dying everyday that this war over power goes on and maybe Dr. Abuelaish can help it come to an end.
    If people could look at each other and realize all the things they have in common and relate to each other rather than dwell on the differences amongst them, the world we live in today would be a very different place. It would probably be a more compassionate and safer place where people were welcoming and more accepting. This is a place that I can possibly exist someday.

  • Anonymous says:

    After reading the blog and many of the blog responses, I found myself intrigued by many of the creative interpretations of the videos and to the blog posted by Professor Richards. Personally, this assignment made me wonder why such global peacemakers are the ones that seem to be targeted. If no one spoke up and tried to make peace within a conflict and ignored the situation at hand, would the problem intensify or slowly diminish? I know it seems to be a radical thought, but it is one worth considering. Such influential leaders in history have been ridiculed and in many cases killed for their peaceful attempts at ending war, conflicts, and hatred amongst races, religions, etc. If we continually ignore these radical attempts of violence, maybe, just maybe, some of the perpetrators would not find success in their violence.
    When Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish had to suffer the deaths of his daughters and niece, he was optimistic in hoping that the death of his family members would be the last straw to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I was taken back when he made this comment. After the loss of a family member, friend, or loved one, I do not understand how he could remain optimistic and hopeful for the conflict’s conclusion. I think that this truly shows his goals to live and lead a peaceful life for his children and for the world. His perseverance and hope through these hard times are truly inspiring.
    On a more personal level, I know how hard it is to lose a loved one, but it has been said that no pain is greater than at the time when you have to bury your child. In Dr. Abuelaish’s case, he had to bury three of his children, including a niece. I cannot fathom the sorrow he must be enduring, especially in regards to his peaceful attempts to solve a conflict that has been escalating. Also on a greater scale, this situation concerns me for the safety and direction of our peace efforts. How differently would the events have unraveled in the Middle East, if we had not been involved? For better or worse, the decision was made and many of our men and women’s lives were lost to create peace in the world today. These influential leaders, including the men and women of the military services across the world, are the true heroes. It is hard to say that there will ever be world peace, but violence is certainly not the answer. But if we are the ones constantly repeating these words, why do we ultimately resolve to violence? Peace efforts can be made in a multitude of ways, including the actions presented by Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. I believe a smile can go a long way. It is not going to solve race conflict, war, or any form of hate, but it is a step in the right direction. Acceptance is key. We are all human and it is a great place to start respecting what we have in common. Respect for human society should be recognized more in the media and spread across the world. Hopefully one day we will all learn from these terrible acts and recognize that we are all the same with a different makeup.

  • Anonymous says:

    Reading this blog, my heart really went out to Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. I felt terrible that he lost three daughters and a niece. I cannot even imagine going through the pain he must be feeling. It’s also a terrible thing that he was friends with those that caused him pain. Unfortunately this is just something that happens when a person lives in a war zone. I think that it’s a terrible thing that innocent civilians must lose their lives, but its reality. For our own war, how do we know that our soldiers aren’t thinking that every day? How do we know that they don’t imagine what the other side is going through and how they are feeling? But what they do know is that those soldiers and civilians trying to kill off our troops are doing so without hesitation. War is a terrible thing, but it’s necessary. I know that is a harsh thing to say, but the world is not perfect. We will never all get along. There will always be fighting. When we figure out our current issues, new ones will appear. I believe that it would be perfect if we could all get along, if we could look at the world in each other’s shoes, if we could understand each other, but people don’t work that way. People take advantage of each other. They use each other. That’s just how it is and how it’s always been and history proves it. We saw it with the killings of Christians, with Hitler and WWII, with those who killed thousands on 9/11, and with Saddam Hussein. I agree that we, as the United States, can better ourselves and set an example for others. That is why it is our duty to rid the world of those people. We must better this world by ridding it of those suppressing others. Do you think that Hussein looked at his people and thought of what they might have been thinking? Do you think that he wondered how the women felt when his men raped and tortured them? I believe that is one reason why we are trying to pick up the pieces in Iraq. Why, if we started a war there, would we leave those people in a mess? We must set the example by being honorable enough to fix things. I agree that life would be so much more wonderful without the war at all, if we could all just get along. But again, that will never happen and so we can only handle things the best we can. There will always be innocent lives lost, but in order to save as many innocent lives as we can, we must do our best to fight back if that is in our capabilities.

  • Morgan says:

    Upon reading this blog, I immediately began to hear the song “New Beginning” by Tracy Chapman play in my mind. The song tells of a broken world that isn’t world fixing, with too much pain and suffering, and to little understanding. In order for this to be remedied, Chapman explains that “we need to make new symbols/Make new signs/Make a new language/With these we’ll define the world,” and I couldn’t agree more. There is too much fighting, and there is too little understanding. So what do we do? We must learn to see one another as the brothers and sisters that we are for any of this to change. In order to do this, however, we need to find wholeness within ourselves.
    In the constant struggle for “success” and in the pursuit of fitting the particular mold laid out for us, we hardly have the opportunity to take a moment to feel. We think all day long, and look where it has gotten us. We think about the things we “need,” our daily schedules, and who knows what else. The point is, is that we are preoccupied with things that need not preoccupy us as much as they do. We need to separate from our broken-record like internal monologues and take a look outside of us. In doing this, we will be capable of seeing our connectivity and oneness. Just as we are maiming one another, we are maiming our environment. And it’s all for the same reason. We just can’t see the connection. The symbols we put into the box of what “we” are doesn’t match the symbol for what “they” are. So it seems that the only logical solution is to fight so that the “we” prevails over the “them.”
    This all reminds me of a story I coincidentally looked up just yesterday. The story is called “The Sneetches,” and it’s be Dr. Seuss. In this story, there are many Sneetches that live on the beach. Some of the Sneetches have stars on their bellies, while others do not. Because of this, the star-bellied Sneetches felt it appropriate to form an elite and exclusive group, leaving the plain-bellied Sneetches out. Then one day, a man from far away comes and provides the plain-bellied Sneetches with stars (for a price, of course). The star-bellied Sneetches were furious, and decided that they would “de-star” themselves (again, the man took money), so that they would remain the elite Sneetches. All day, the machines were buzzing. The Sneetches changed back and forth so many times that no one could tell which Sneetches were which anymore. The symbol that separated them was removed, and they became one.
    Clearly this is a made up story, but it has a point. If we lost the flags, the nationalism, the “us” and “them” ideology, then the fighting would surely decrease. Who wants to harm someone on their team, anyway?

  • John L says:

    Although war is a terrible thing for countries involved but the whole world in its entirety. Though I am not an advocate of war, I sometimes think it’s is justifiable (Not a supporter of the Iraq or Vietnam War just to add my 2 cents). Families and individuals are affected sometimes negatively and sometimes positively, but this is just a natural cause of war. After viewing the short clip in the blog entry by Professor Richards I have empathy for the man; he not only lost a family but a piece of himself. This may sound ugly, but through war someone has to take some pain and loss; it’s just the way life is. The man in the video is hurting and I do feel bad, but I’m thankful that I’m not in the situation. I just happen to be in the position of living in one of the greatest civilizations of all time, 21st century America. This is all it really boils down to, survival of the fittest; although it may not seem apparent, a lot of American principle has been based on this pure statement. Would you rather have other countries attacking us, killing some of our American families and destroying our homes that we have devoted the better of half of our lives to? It’s honestly just not fair but someone has to take the brunt of the violence. All I can really say on the subject is that I wish war didn’t have to happen, but when it does ( and there is a very real possibility that disputes will be solved this way) I pray to god that me our me or my country is not the victim.
    War should be a last option for resolving political disputes, and if the option is enacted there should be clear and concise evidence for the decision, but sometimes there isn’t. Going back to the survival of the fittest theory, self-motivated actions are sometimes a clear influence on whether or not certain decisions are made. Though this is sometimes wrong, these decisions are made through clear and rational thought. Once again, this could be hard to swallow for some people, but this is the way it’s always and been and always will be. You’re fighting for last life boat of the sinking ship, and there is only one spot left on the last boat. Suppose me and you are on the last two on the ship (remember once again there is only one spot left), what would reaction be? Would you just sit aside and let the other person take that spot while you sink and drown? Well I can answer that question for you; no you are going to do whatever it takes to get on that boat, even if it means using violence. Think about it what makes your life any better than mine, why should I save yours and throw mine away? It’s cruel, its mean, but its HUMANITY. Tragedies of war are simply just an effect human’s natural animal instinct.

  • John L says:

    War is a terrible thing for countries involved but the whole world in its entirety. Though I am not an advocate of war, I sometimes think it’s is justifiable (Not a supporter of the Iraq or Vietnam War just to add my 2 cents). Families and individuals are affected sometimes negatively and sometimes positively, but this is just a natural cause of war. After viewing the short clip in the blog entry by Professor Richards I have empathy for the man; he not only lost a family but a piece of himself. This may sound ugly, but through war someone has to take some pain and loss; it’s just the way life is. The man in the video is hurting and I do feel bad, but I’m thankful that I’m not in the situation. I just happen to be in the position of living in one of the greatest civilizations of all time, 21st century America. This is all it really boils down to, survival of the fittest; although it may not seem apparent, a lot of American principle has been based on this pure statement. Would you rather have other countries attacking us, killing some of our American families and destroying our homes that we have devoted the better of half of our lives to? It’s honestly just not fair but someone has to take the brunt of the violence. All I can really say on the subject is that I wish war didn’t have to happen, but when it does ( and there is a very real possibility that disputes will be solved this way) I pray to god that me our me or my country is not the victim.
    War should be a last option for resolving political disputes, and if the option is enacted there should be clear and concise evidence for the decision, but sometimes there isn’t. Going back to the survival of the fittest theory, self-motivated actions are sometimes a clear influence on whether or not certain decisions are made. Though this is sometimes wrong, these decisions are made through clear and rational thought. Once again, this could be hard to swallow for some people, but this is the way it’s always and been and always will be. You’re fighting for last life boat of the sinking ship, and there is only one spot left on the last boat. Suppose me and you are on the last two on the ship (remember once again there is only one spot left), what would reaction be? Would you just sit aside and let the other person take that spot while you sink and drown? Well I can answer that question for you; no you are going to do whatever it takes to get on that boat, even if it means using violence. Think about it what makes your life any better than mine, why should I save yours and throw mine away? It’s cruel, its mean, but its HUMANITY. Tragedies of war are simply just an effect human’s natural animal instinct.

  • Alaina Hendershot says:

    Losing family members is never easy, no matter where you are from. Whether you are from America, Israel, Iraq, Palestine or anywhere else in the world, loving and losing will always hurt. The problem with war is that it is hard for many people to see things in a perspective other than their own. For a few, the American perspective is that people from the Iraq and Afghanistan are a bunch of blood-thirsty radicals. Some believe that all Iraqis and Afghanis hate Americans and that they are all part of a plot to attack our homeland and kill our troops. However, many know that this is not the truth. It seems as if their view on us is probably the same as our view towards them. I have no desire to hate every Middle Eastern person that I meet. I don’t think that the Iraqi civilians have much much of a say in the matter. I believe that there are a few radicals in the Iraq that caused a problem, but that the general population is not looking to cause America’s downfall. The same can be said for Americans. Most people I know are against the war in Iraq. Most believe that it should be ended. I don’t think the majority of Americans are rooting for the deaths of as many Iraqi citizens as possible. Just a select few; the radicals.

    When I think of the people who I know who have been killed in the attacks on September 11th and all the news stories of people who were killed in Iraq, it hurts me to think of the pain and sorrow that the families of these people have felt. I live thirty minutes from New York city, and many of my family and friends work in Manhattan. My aunt Aurora was on the 92nd floor of the second World Trade Center building when the first building was attacked. Luckily, she was able to escape the tower just as the building that she was in was hit by a plane. When I heard about the attack all that I could do was worry that she was in danger, my worst fear was that she was dead. This event put so much sorrow and fear into my heart, and I couldn’t help but hold contempt for the people who did this to so many people that I care about. I did lose many friends to this event, and I still feel sorrow about what happened.

    To put myself in the shoes of those Iraqi citizens who lose loved ones to Americans each and every day is very easy for me because I have felt this sorrow and I can imagine that their feelings are exactly parallel to mine. I can only imagine that they are feeling sadness and fear, but also contempt for the people who did this to them. It is only natural. This is not to say that they want to join a group of radicals and kill as many Americans as possible. I have lost to this war as well and my intention is not to cause more war, but simply to hope for a timely end to this mess. I bet many Iraqis feels this way as well. If we had the capacity to think of all the hurt we could prevent but putting ourselves in others shoes, war wouldn’t be an issue. The ethic recognized globally has always been, “Do not do anything to others that you would not want done to yourself.” If it were only that simple.

  • Alain Hendershot says:

    Losing family members is never easy, no matter where you are from. Whether you are from America, Israel, Iraq, Palestine or anywhere else in the world, loving and losing will always hurt. The problem with war is that it is hard for many people to see things in a perspective other than their own. For a few, the American perspective is that people from the Iraq and Afghanistan are a bunch of blood-thirsty radicals. Some believe that all Iraqis and Afghanis hate Americans and that they are all part of a plot to attack our homeland and kill our troops. However, many know that this is not the truth. It seems as if their view on us is probably the same as our view towards them. I have no desire to hate every Middle Eastern person that I meet. I don’t think that the Iraqi civilians have much much of a say in the matter. I believe that there are a few radicals in the Iraq that caused a problem, but that the general population is not looking to cause America’s downfall. The same can be said for Americans. Most people I know are against the war in Iraq. Most believe that it should be ended. I don’t think the majority of Americans are rooting for the deaths of as many Iraqi citizens as possible. Just a select few; the radicals.

    When I think of the people who I know who have been killed in the attacks on September 11th and all the news stories of people who were killed in Iraq, it hurts me to think of the pain and sorrow that the families of these people have felt. I live thirty minutes from New York city, and many of my family and friends work in Manhattan. My aunt Aurora was on the 92nd floor of the second World Trade Center building when the first building was attacked. Luckily, she was able to escape the tower just as the building that she was in was hit by a plane. When I heard about the attack all that I could do was worry that she was in danger, my worst fear was that she was dead. This event put so much sorrow and fear into my heart, and I couldn’t help but hold contempt for the people who did this to so many people that I care about. I did lose many friends to this event, and I still feel sorrow about what happened.

    To put myself in the shoes of those Iraqi citizens who lose loved ones to Americans each and every day is very easy for me because I have felt this sorrow and I can imagine that their feelings are exactly parallel to mine. I can only imagine that they are feeling sadness and fear, but also contempt for the people who did this to them. It is only natural. This is not to say that they want to join a group of radicals and kill as many Americans as possible. I have lost to this war as well and my intention is not to cause more war, but simply to hope for a timely end to this mess. I bet many Iraqis feels this way as well. If we had the capacity to think of all the hurt we could prevent but putting ourselves in others shoes, war wouldn’t be an issue. The ethic recognized globally has always been, “Do not do anything to others that you would not want done to yourself.” If it were only that simple.

  • Andrew says:

    War is inevitable and has been inevitable in every society since the beginning of time. Wars have been going on forever and there is nothing anyone could do to completely stop them. In all war people die, including the innocent. The death of the innocent is the worst part, especially if it is the death of a loved one or an acquaintance. However, families who are involved in wars need to understand that people will die, and there is a large possibility that one of the causalities will be someone that you know.
    I feel greatly for Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish and all of the pain he has to go through. He not only had to deal with the death of one person he knew, but three of his own daughters died. On top of that he had to witness the death of his niece as well. I cannot even imagine losing one loved one, as so much to losing three at the same one.
    Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a branch between Israel and Palestine on the war in the Middle East. He is a Palestinian doctor but he works in Israeli hospitals. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is loved by both people of Israel and by the people of Palestine. Both sides are grieving for Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish and his family member that he has lost.
    Unfortunately for Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish he has almost no control over the situation. War is solely a political process. No matter what the people think, say, or do they have little to no control on whether the country they are from goes to war or not. It is solely at discretion of the elected officials to decide the countries major decisions.
    The war in the Middle East has been going on for hundreds of years. The fighting has picked up ever since Israel officially became a county, less than a hundred years ago. Palestine wants the land that they rightfully believe is theirs back. The fighting between them is just going around in circles with hardly anything ever being accomplished. The same thing is occurring in Iraq with the American troops trying to take control there. Progress is being made very slowly, if any progress at all. Hundreds of innocent people are being killed every single day. Even entire families are being wiped out. It is a shame that all of these people are dying, and for what? Iraq’s problems really aren’t being solved. Israel and Palestine’s problems really aren’t being solved. Why are so many people supporting these wars if nothing is being accomplished? Is it really worth it that we are there and still nothing is being done to help the situation. I feel both the war in Iraq and Israel need to be stopped. Both wars have to many people dying and it is just not worth it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I feel that in today’s world there are too many wars being fought over the wrong things. They are being fought over money, oil and land, which will always be superficial material things. What this doctor is going through, in losing his family, is due to a war that he so strongly fought to end in peace. I could not even comprehend the amount of pain and frustration that he is experiencing in this great loss.
    After viewing the news clips of what he has had to say on the matter and how he still hopes for peace throughout this experience is amazing. He said that he just hopes this is the last thing they do and that they will leave his family alone. I feel that it is so upsetting for it to take this man’s loss to make viewers voice their concerns and ideas on the ongoing war. The way society views war I feel in this world is as a disjointed political debate, but the reality of it is that hundreds of people are dying every day due to this pointless decision. Unless it hits close to home and the destruction and loss of lives affects you personally, war almost appears to be a fairy tale story that doesn’t exist.
    I have friends and family that are fighting over seas in Afghanistan and I very strongly believe that war should never be an option. It is murder and destruction of lives of people that have not done anything wrong. When war effects a population to the point where one of the sides has won then it is because of the amount of killing and destruction that the winning team has been able to deliver. I believe that there is no true winner in a war and they will never end in a victory because there is always a great loss in lives on both sides of the battle field. If this can be evident anywhere, but even more so today it can be shown in the pain and hurt that Dr. Abuelaish is going thought.
    The world is made up of so many different kinds of people. By engaging in war, lives of people who could have had the most interesting way of thinking will lose their lives. I feel that in getting to know people and who they are would make war less prominent. The world would function at a higher level if the brutality of war would disappear and instead of shooting missiles and bombs at each other communication would be this interaction between fighting nations. The lives of countless innocent individuals would not be lost and solutions that do not end in bitter bloodshed would make for a more peaceful place to live. Instead of tearing down civilian neighborhoods they would be built up and a better way of life would be discovered. Until this happens there will still be losses of lives and terrible stories on CNN that make viewers want to cry.

  • Alexandra Robinson says:

    As a student of journalism I know that readers react much differently to death overseas to death here. Reports are allowed to be more descriptive and more vulgar of overseas suffering. How many times do newspapers show us images of dead Iraqis? But pain that affects a more immediate area is treated with more compassion and concern. Editors are more aware that they may show a neighbor, a sibling, a mother or some other relative to their audience when a disaster hits closer to home.

    The compassion seen in the first video is not very evident until you understand what the broadcaster is saying. The second video has the interpretations of the reporter. The moved reporter is only “choked up” because he knows Dr. Abuelaish. This story might not have been as big of a deal if the reporter had not been personally involved in the attack. Because the extra tie is there that adds interest to viewers, this story became national news. People already knew about the war, and I am sure there were other fathers who lost their daughters, but this story has a unique approach and draws more sympathy.

    If we could treat everyone like we loved them as if they were our neighbor, I highly doubt we would have any war at all. We war because of differences, and if everyone understood each other’s differences, there would be no reason to fight. This would bring world peace. Unfortunately, there are not enough open minds in rulers of the nations.

    The truth is that we do have more compassion for disasters that strike America personally. Proximity is a main element of newsworthiness. A local disaster around State College may be more important than a plane crash in California on any given day, simply because local disasters will impact more people than disasters farther away. This is why the second video is very graphic. That video was intended for Americans, as provided by the New York Times.

    I would not say that people do not sympathize with others who are affected by disasters abroad, but there is certainly a reason to be more hardened to them. We can’t all be shaken by every little incident that occurs everywhere in the world; society would never be able to survive. People have to understand the importance of a disaster before you can react with grief or sympathy.

    Dr. Abuelaish does draw out sympathy. International recognition and sympathy is going to this conflict. Based on stories like this, no one blames either Israel or Palestine. There is no single side to blame. As the doctor says, he wants this to be the last strike and for peace to soothe the troubled countries. Even if peace were possible between these two countries, it would not mean united peace throughout the world.

  • Porkboy34 says:

    This is a very interesting blog entry, especially to expose the human sympathy and compassion as to what has happened. My first thoughts were about how sorry I am for Dr. Abuelaish, and the pain and suffering he will have to go through for the rest of his life. Sadly to say, most of the United States public has no idea what it would be like to lose several close family members all at once, especially due to a wartime conflict. I can understand the sympathy that would be given from the “Western” culture, but I really do not feel as though our culture truly understands or sympathizes near enough as we should. I think until it actually happens to you, you will not be able to fully understand the situation that one person is going through.
    I would also like to point out that I will totally agree with Alexandra Robinson’s entry. She wrote that Americans tend to show more sympathy for things that occur in our own country. I certainly have a lot of compassion within me, but take these examples into consideration: when the tsunami hit Southeast Asia, how did you truly feel? To me, it was sad, but nothing extremely important or sad. When the earthquakes hit China, how did you feel? To me, it was sad to see all the destruction and death, but I know I will probably forget about the event in five years time. How did you feel on September 11, 2001? I was in sixth grade, and for me, I will NEVER forget the moment that I found out what happened. Heck, I didn’t know how to make out with a girl yet, but I knew that the events happening were wrong, and I felt horrible for the victims of the attack. The same also happened when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. To conclude about Alexandra’s comments, I would have to say that even I tend to mourn and sympathize more for the events that occur within the United States, and less for things that happen in other countries around the world. But I often wonder why that is? Do you think that people in the United States care less for whatever else happens in the world? I mean, when 9/11 occurred, we had so many countries and people mourning with us, but it seems that we do nothing in return when bad things occur in foreign countries. Are Americans just uncompassionate?
    However, I do believe American have some sympathy for the events in Israel and Palestine, because many innocent lives are being taken. I think John Lennon helps the world into a great segue. He says “Imagine all the people, living life in peace.” We can imagine, now we need to accomplish it.

  • Jennifer says:

    It is impossible to hear about this tragic incident in the life of this peace-loving Palestinian man and not apply it to the seemingly endless war that our country is currently engaged in with Iraq. So often in the American media is the Iraqi “enemy” painted as being nothing more than a heartless, misguided people. With images of men like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden flashing across our television screens and emblazoned on the front pages of our newspapers, how can we not begin to view these people as non-human? The answer, it seems, can be found in stories like this.

    Regardless of the color of our skin, the religion of our people, or the customs of our country, the one thing that remains constant and universal are the emotions felt by people throughout the world. While I do not believe we should completely disregard the fact that evil people do exist, both in and outside of the United States, the majority of the people in the world are not cruel, selfish people with whom we have nothing in common, but rather good, caring people such as ourselves, separated more from us by physical barriers than differences in hopes and desires.

    I will admit that at times I too have let the negative images portrayed by the American media sway my way of thinking. However, it is the stories of people like Dr. Abuelaish that force me back to reality. I cannot even begin to imagine the incredible pain I would feel if I were to suddenly have four of the most important people in my world taken from me. Even more outrageously, taken from me for no personal reason. In the face of tragedy, we are forced to open our eyes. To take a step back from the barbaric custom of war and remind ourselves that these are not just mannequins or crash dummies we are firing at, but people with beautiful and intricate life stories. How much sooner would wars come to an end if we stopped to realize what was at stake? Better yet, how many wars would be prevented altogether?

    Dr. Abuelaish’s loss is without a doubt a terrible tragedy. But perhaps this will also be a wakeup call. Perhaps his story will force people to ask themselves at what price they are willing to stop this war. When will it be their turn to lose a family member? When will the loss of a man from Iraq resonate in the hearts of the American people and open our nation’s eyes to a suffering that knows no skin color or nationality? It is unfortunate that it sometimes takes heartbreak to make true progress, but in the case of war it is evidently not uncommon.

  • Anonymous says:

    There is no doubt that the pain that Dr. Abuelaish is experiencing right now is unlike any other but just because his personal pain was publicized doesn’t mean that he’s the only one experiencing it. Not only in this war but in wars throughout history there have been millions of victims just like Dr. Abuelaish, and that’s not to take away from his pain but I think that it’s a fact that many who are not directly involved in the war realize. While stories like Dr. Abulaish’s are heartbreaking to hear, what is more troubling to me is how easily a country make the decision to go to war knowing full well that there are far more civilians killed than combatants. After listening to U.S. marines describe their experiences in combat in Iraq and how soldiers, U.S., Iraqi’s, Palestinians, and Israeli’s alike, are trained to partake in this civilian deaths without an ounce of regret, in the moment that is. That is not to say that they don’t in hindsight, or maybe they really don’t, there is no way for me to tell; however, as Laurie said, how could they justify what they are doing without seeing the victim as ‘sub-human’ in some way. The point is these civilians deaths occur in worlds all over the world every day, and as a result, there are millions of Dr. Abuelaishs out there right now. Having the opportunity to watch videos such as this one from the outside definitely does open the eyes of the viewer sitting at home in the comfort and warmth of their own home, causing an overwhelming surge of compassion. Do the people responsible for such an attack and who are close to Dr. Abuelaish and others just like him feel the same compassion? One would hope so, but war, unfortunately, does not allow for much emotion in the heat of combat. Now again, I may be completely wrong, but I must admit that this is what I have been brought to believe after listening to personal stories of those who have been in combat and have witnessed attacks just like that first-hand.
    As much as I want this war and wars all over the world to cease, unfortunately, I don’t’ see an end in sight. There are multiple factors that lead a country to go to war, completely overlooking all of the civilian casualties that occur all coming back to power. Why is there this need for power? This need to dominate over another? To make sure that “we” are safe and that “we” have what we need to survive. The answer is simple: fear. Fear of losing one’s place in the world, fear of not being provided for, fear of dying. Until, not only the leaders of the world, but the people of the world as a whole, come to realize that all that they need to survive is within them, wars will wage until the end of time.

  • Anonymous says:

    What if we did see the faces of those killed by the hands of our American soldiers?
    I imagine that some would feel horrible and want peace, others may make an excuse and say, “well they bombed us first,” some may not give a shit in the world because they are not American, one of us. It’s hard to see someone not react to Dr. Abuelaish’s suffering. He is human; we all know what pain feels and some of us know what it feels like to lose someone so close to us.
    It would be amazing if we can all live in harmony and live as humans and not countries divided by lines…we created. It reminds me of the John Lennon song, imagine. Imagine if all the things he said were to exist. I believe that war is the most cowardly way to solve a problem. Having your opponent dead is easier than actually working with them and coming up with a solution. This may be very naïve of me but I’m not the only one that thinks like this. Dr. Abuelaish dedicated his life, his teachings, and his beliefs to peace. Someone that truly had faith in mankind. Hopefully Israelis can see this and take a second look at who they are killing…hopefully we can take a second look at who we are killing. If we were to see people for people and not enemies…foreigners…we would actually save the lives of many. These people dying could’ve made a difference in today’s world if given the chance; lives that could’ve been doctors, engineers, mothers, friends…lives that could’ve lived.
    We would probably work together as a planet as oppose to destroying each other.
    When we sit back and look at what we want, we all have similar goals in life. We all want to have a career, have a family, friends; we all want to be happy. It’s hard to see us ever live in harmony…it would be ideal. But there are too many people in the world that do not look at their neighbors as humans, but instead look at them as a gender, race, religion, an inferior individual. If we as Americans, individuals living in the land of the free, have a hard time co existing with people of different cultures…it would take a miracle for us to look at those in another country in the same level as us. People need to get over themselves. You are not the only person in this planet, your religion isn’t the only “right” one, and the color of your skin is due to melatonin not because you’re superior. The sooner we live with the facts and see the amount of beauty this world has, the sooner we can take a step forward and live as one.

  • Anonymous says:

    The first thing that comes to mind after reading this post is empathy. Our actions as a nation lack empathy for other countries…Iraq. Dr. Abuelaish has empathy for others who have been faced with the travesties of war. Rich people lack empathy for poor people. I myself lack empathy for my room mate, who I tend to talk smack on rather regularly, and she isn’t even in the country this semester.

    So what would a world with lots of empathy be like? While skimming the comments on this post, one student pointed out that if we were all friends, there wouldn’t be any war. This is a valid point, in theory. We must not forget that friends fight and have disagreements. Though these disagreements may not be grounds to wage a war, it’s hard to envision a world where we are all friends. Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist, who I like to think of as a peace activist. One of his most interesting pieces, at least to me, is his 14 Mindfulness Trainings. In one of my past communications classes, I was challenged to envision what the United States would be like if we practiced #4 – Awareness of Suffering. What if we were aware of how others suffered? Certainly we would empathize with the impoverished, the hungry, and the war stricken people of the world. This practice also invites us to transform the suffering of others into joy. We would be a compassionate, caring nation. This idea can be applied to anything – empathizing with Hurricane Katrina victims, Virginia Tech students, Israelis. It’s quite an idea, don’t you think?

    I find it very interesting what Barack Obama is attempting to do with Gaza, the Hamas and the Muslims in the Middle East. He is trying to make amends and fix hard feelings. It really is a great step toward peace, and what has the United States got to lose? Our relationship with the Middle East sucks, so Obama’s attempts to fix it could be a great thing. It could be the best thing ever – perhaps less terroristic attacks and threats. Obama certainly has empathy toward Muslims, but some may argue it’s because his father is Muslim. Whatever the reason, I like to believe that Obama is great at empathizing with other people, and wants peace not only during his presidency, but also for the future of the United States.

    I think if we could all empathize more, we could be happier. In fact, I know this is true. When I get mad at my room mate for not cleaning her side of the sink, I just think about how busy she is and I can see where she’s coming from. But, it all starts with one person – yourself. If I vow to empathize, and spread the idea to my friends and family, hopefully they will consider adopting this way of life. It could be a domino effect, and spread like an epidemic.

  • Lacey Carney says:

    It is beyond horrid to read this blog and realize that someone as influential as Dr. Abuelaish, who is striving for peace, has to go through such a traumatizing event. Losing a loved one is definitely one of the most unbearable events an individual has to overcome throughout the course of their lifetime. You are faced with the reality of never seeing, talking, or having any sort of acquaintance with that person again. To have to go through the deaths of three daughters and a niece, let alone witness it, just proves that the morals of this world are truly unethical. Although Dr. Abuelaish’s pain was publicized, this does not mean that he is the only one experiencing this grief. Think back to when you lost a loved one—how many other people were also crushed by losing the exact same person? It also appalls me that Dr. Abuelaish still had optimism left inside of him when he claimed that he hoped this would be the last straw to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This blog causes me to once again face reality and realize that there is still a war going on over in Iraq. Unfortunately, I do not think of the Iraq War everyday and realize that although they are our “enemies,” we are also killing innocent people who mean a great deal to someone else, as are they as well. As citizens, we are embedded with the image that they are our enemies and we must keep them at a distance. We fail to realize that they have something in common with us—this war and the emotional and physical effects it is placing on society. My heart goes out to soldiers and their families who everyday are faced with both the fear of losing a loved one or companion, and also the reality of losing them as well. There have been so many other leaders throughout history who have also strived for things such as world peace and equality, whose lives have been ended because of this positive trait they are carrying around with them. The media plays an influential part in the portrayal of this war. It fails to show us the most violent and graphic instances of the war, causing us to believe that these instances do not exist. By publicizing these events, Americans will be affected more and hopefully help fight for an end to this nightmare as well. During his campaign, President Barack Obama promised to end the Iraq war and remove all troops within eighteen months. We can only hope that Obama fulfills this promise and returns all our loved ones home to us safe and sound. It is hard to believe that an end to this war is in sight, but Obama promised change and this would perhaps be the most important change amongst us.

    Lacey Carney
    Section #13

  • Anonymous says:

    It is horrible what happened to Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. No parent should ever have to bury a child, let alone three in one day. However, there is more to the conflict than a single person and a single family. And if one group of people does what this blog entry is asking them to do and takes a step back and looks at their enemies as their brothers, they will be at the mercy of the other group unless that group does the same.

    Compromise is almost impossible. There will always be someone or some group that will be unhappy. These unhappy people will almost always rebel, and nothing will ever be settled. It is horrible that a man who was working so hard for peace had to have such a tragedy happen to him. But how he reacts will be the real message. If he continues to work for peace in Israel, he will surely make changes. But if he becomes bitter then his earlier work will be useless.

    Personally I understand the Israeli-Palestinian situation. I understand it much better than America’s situation with Iraq. And personally I am on the side of Israel, but as are many other Americans I am not doing anything about it.

    It could be because personally I hate war. I do not want to be a part of a war whether in my own country or in another. While I love the country I am from, I do not know if I would be willing to die in the line of duty, in another country, for her. I don’t think I could shoot another human being unless it was in self defense. And I tend to trust pretty much everyone despite race and ethnicity. Even if I disagree with a group of people on their believes or the way they conduct their lives, I’ve never seen another group as less human.

    I’m sure my family is partly to blame for my lack of commitment to fighting for my country. When the U.S. Army called my older brother shortly after he turned 18 to recruit him, my brother politely turned the man down. When the officer asked why he did not want to join, my brother responded, because I’m lazy and I’m a pussy. The officer had nothing to say and hung up the phone. While pussy may not be the best way to describe my brother, it showed his unwillingness to fight others.

    I agree with statements in entries above my own that says that Americans are ignorant and I could surely be one of them. But I wish we could all just get along. Additionally, I agree with another above statement that wars are political. But as much as we can dream, our world will never be a utopia.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have always been completely anti-war under all circumstances. I have never been able to understand how people could ever just hate entire groups, races, religions, even nations of people. It makes absolutely no sense to me. Things like that have always and undoubtedly will always blow my mind.
    My ex-boyfriend joined the Navy after he graduated from high school. We are still friends and when he is not at sea we talk on the phone every once in a while. He is overseas now, and a few weeks before he left we had a long phone conversation that I will always remember. He was talking about how he was going to “kill all those motherfuckers” and saying extremely derogatory things about Iraqi people. At one point, he even used the term “towel heads.” I wanted to start crying. I thought to myself, oh my God, I don’t even know him anymore. I hated the things that he was saying and felt as if he was almost brainwashed to believe the things that were coming out of his mouth.
    I think that even though it is awful that soldiers are often so desensitized to the people who they are trained to kill, it is simultaneously almost necessary. I mean, how many people would really be able to go out and massacre a bunch of people if they thought about the fact that those people were actually human beings with lives and families? Then again, there are some people who have no qualms about killing innocent children who clearly have done nothing to make them deserve to be put into violent and terrifying situations. I wonder what those people could possibly be thinking. How do they justify killing children? And furthermore, how do they justify killing anyone who is not in a military uniform? How do they bomb countries haphazardly, not even really caring what the bombs hit as long as they create some destruction?
    Dr. Abuelaish probably has some extra grief simply because he wants so much to create peace. Watching the CNN news clip, it was amazing to me to see him, a Palestinian man, hugging an Israeli soldier and just generally being a well-liked and highly respected member of Israeli society. The video on The New York Times website was especially heart-wrenching because there were actually clips of Abuelaish crying in the hospital where a surviving daughter and niece were being treated for their wounds.
    It is extremely hard to even imagine the pain and sadness that Dr. Abuelaish must feel right now. I cannot even fathom witnessing any of my family members dying, let alone being brutally killed. Moreover, it would be even more difficult for Dr. Abuelaish as a parent. Children are supposed to outlive their parents, not the other way around. This story is tragic on many different levels.

  • Anonymous says:

    I feel that if we applied these same concepts to the war in Iraq it would be a completely different type of fight. It’s much harder to kill a man when u no his story when u his life when u no he has children that are at home waiting for him. I feel that it might also b harder for the Iraq’s to commit the mass murders that they do with suicide boomers. If that person could just realize and truly know the amount of devastation he was going to do and the number of lives that would be destroyed as a result of this act he just might not do it. Just as the pilot on that American fighter jet might be less inclined to drop that boom on a small town in Iraqi if he knew the type of harm it would truly do not only 2 his enemy but their families. Honestly if we could see all these things then there would probably be no wars in this world, but unfortunately war is a necessary evil. When population grow and expand they need land so that their own people can grow and survive so in many cases war is emendable if they don’t want their own people to die out. So as a result people go to war and the strong conquer the week so that their population can survive. It is just a part of life, and we try to justify what we do by make others seem inferior or barbaric so that we can carry out theses necessary acts. Such as using things like religion such as call mass atrocities and killings a holy war. Telling people that our religion is correct and their s is not so they deserve to die. Or for Americans we are liberating their people from their horrible government. W itch really means we are going to go into someone else country destroy their way of life take what we need and force them to convert to the American way of life, and those that refuses to convert to ours ways are destroyed. It is very unfortunate they people can’t see just how similar we all really are we all deal with the same problems and struggles in life. Just as that young American boy who’s just been drafted may not understand what he’s fighting for, there is some young Iraqi boy on the other side that doesn’t really understand what a religious war is or why he’s fighting in it. However this is something that will always be a figurative dream there will never be a world where everyone resects and excepts each other because man will always have the drive to be soupier to another man.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think everyone can relate to Dr. Abuelaish in some way or another. Most of us, I believe, have lost someone we love. Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or even just a friend of a friend, we have all felt that pain. It’s evident in how many people come together when a life is lost because that one person has made an impact on so many lives, probably without even knowing it. To lose three daughters and a niece to an Israeli attack is horrible for Dr. Abuelaish especially considering he has devoted much of his life to ease the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And even after their deaths, Dr. Abuelaish continued to remain positive and hope that this was what it would take to end the conflict – that his suffering in some way would stop the fighting.
    However, I’m not sure I really believe that if everyone could witness such suffering, we’d end all conflicts we had with our enemies. Maybe I think this because most of us are pretty naïve when it comes to knowing about the war. I wouldn’t put the entire blame on us not wanting to know though – the media definitely fails to portray the war as it really is. We never see suffering. We never see the families of the people that are killed. We never see the pain in their eyes. We do however, on occasion, see the families of our own men and women who have died. But that only makes us more willing to continue to fight a war. Because we don’t want our own men and women to die. But if the people dying are not from our country, and if we are the ones doing the killing, we turn our eyes from it.
    We are able to do this because we never have to feel close to the people we are fighting. We do not consider them people. They are truly enemies in the minds of those who are fighting. It would take too much for us to see them as people. I can be shown the suffering of the people we are fighting and feel compassion and wonder why it is we are killing them. But I can’t stop anyone. One person cannot accomplish anything. Dr. Abuelaish tried and seemed to be somewhat successful until recently. It just goes to show that a single peace-maker can put everything he has into solving the conflict and only make a slight step forward. We would need to force everyone to feel compassion and to see the suffering of our enemies as the suffering of humans for anything to change. Not only would everyone on our side need to see and feel this, but the people we fight with would need to feel the same way. The other side would need to see our suffering and want to stop as well. Otherwise, if we stopped alone, we’d be the peaceful, compassionate country who everyone would walk all over.

  • Amber says:

    I believe that this blog leaves more for discussion than people are noticing. You asked, “How differently would we treat people who we hate from a distance if we could see ourselves in them, and if we could actually see the shared pain we all carry within?” And the honest answer is we don’t know how we would treat them differently because most people don’t take the time to think about other people in a new light. You have judgemental people, sterotypical people, and people who just don’t give a damn about anyone else. And that’s unfortunate. If you were to ask anyone who knows me, what they thought of me, more often then not, you would be told that I’m funny, outgoing, FRIENDLY, and always smiling. I light up their days and I make them smile. And that is my goal. Life is too short to be unhappy. However, the people that would say that about me, don’t know what I’ve been through. They don’t know that in the past 7-years I’ve lost 12 people in my life, starting at just 13-years old. They don’t know that I’ve been working to support myself since I was able and that I’m struggling day in and day out just to make it. That’s the point. No matter what race, religion, age, ethnicity, etc. someone is, we are a judgemental society. We learn what is acceptable and what isn’t, and if someone doesn’t meet that criteria at first glance, they never will. Most people don’t bother to take the time to get to know others. And people that we eventually develope negative feelings for, most of the time we don’t know them or their past. And I believe that is key. I hated growing up being judged. It’s the worst feeling in the world. But we all do it. If we all just took the time to say “Hi” to someone we ordinarily wouldn’t, someone we’d consider not to our standards, we could make a difference, even if just for a moment. You never know if that one person was planning to go home and end it all, because they felt inadequate and as if they didn’t matter, or that they were alone. You saying “Hi” to them might just change their life, and bring a smile to their face. To often we assume that we are worse off, or the exact opposite, too good for those around us. However, most of the time, we couldn’t be more wrong. So I guess my point is, if we took the time to actually get to know people and give them a chance, and listen, we’d realize that it doesn’t matter what someone looks like, how much money they make, or what they wear, we really are all a lot a like, striving for the same things in life; acceptance, happiness and respect. And honestly, isn’t that all that really matters? What’s life if you’re not happy!

  • Anonymous says:

    I think it is truly incredible what Dr. Abuelaish is attempting to do to aid the conflict occurring between Israel and Palestine. It takes a great deal of not only sympathy but also empathy to put oneself into the shoes of another, especially those of such an opposite as Israel is to Palestine. Perhaps these feelings emerge from his close connection and knowledge of both cultures, (i.e. the fact that he has been educated in Israel, is fluent in Hebrew, and works in an Israel hospital). Nonetheless, it is truly incredible that he is able to take such polarized views and toss them aside as if they are nothing in an effort to pacify the conflict. At the sight of seeing one’s daughters and niece murdered, most people would immediately feel revengeful toward those responsible. Yet Dr. Abuelaish seems to remain undeterred, focused on his mission to create some sort of peace among the warring nations.
    Why then is it, that most people are unable to have a similar mindset, relating to foreigners not as enemies, but as brothers and sisters of the human race? Perhaps it stems from a lack of education; people tend to view life in the eyes of those around them. Whether it be parents, peers, school groups, religious sectors, or a number of other communities, most people formulate their opinions based on the general consensus around them. The Iraq War is a great example of this. Now it is commonly scrutinized, with almost one hundred percent of the blame being placed on former President George W. Bush. What hypocritical behavior! When the war was initially proposed, it was passed through Congress and most of the public were in favor of it. I think people should learn to become more self actualized and formulate their own ideas and opinions rather than taking those of the majority.
    This is what is so profound about Dr. Abuelaish. He sets aside the common Palestinian views of the Israelis, and goes by what he feels is right. Perhaps Americans are unable to feel similarly about the situation in Iraq because they are simply too uneducated and too conformist to truly understand anything about it. Due to a biased media, we are unable to receive accurate information on the conflict and the people involved. Since the majority of us have never visited the country and met those with whom we are at war, we are unable to relate to them. Perhaps CNN and other liberal news programs should stop looking at the conflict so negatively and rather give us an accurate portrayal of both the war and the characters involved so that we may feel more involved. I think that if we all took the time to learn about the culture and attitudes of Iraqi’s, perhaps we could get together and implement a more effective solution that would limit costs both in money and in body counts.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hearing stories like these really makes you think about the world we live in and what kind of people live among us. Anyone who hears this story or a story similar to it should feel for the people effect. However, unfortunately a lot of people feel a little bit of their sadness or want the world to change, but the next day go ahead and continue living their daily lives. Many people go through life free from the pain that Dr. Abuelaish has felt. It may sound pessimistic or unfaithful in the human race but it will take a lot for any huge changes.
    Contrary to what I have just said this story did affect the people of Dr. Abuelaish’s country. It did bring about change and hopefully opened up a few individual’s eyes to see the reality of the violence taking place all over the world. These stories need to be shared and people need to connect with other people on an emotional level even if they are thousands of miles away or are their enemies. Putting ourselves in other people’s situation should hopefully make us want to change things about our world or be more appreciative of how we live. Once the majority of people apply this theory there should not be any wars.
    There are many people who believe violence is the answer and those people who believe in that will be hard to change. I do not know if a story similar to Dr. Abuelaish’s will change those types of people. So those who are moved by those stories must put in an effort to reach out to people of violence in any way they can. It cannot happen overnight but it shows a lot of hope when you see that Dr. Abuelaish’s story has changed many people of his country to express their condolences when that is not something of their social norms.
    In the United States we support our troops overseas and when we hear their stories it causes most people to feel their pain or the pain of their families that have lost someone overseas. The support from a distance is there but for only our side of the war. Maybe if we thought the soldiers on the other side we could relate them to our men and woman. They are essentially doing the same thing and that is putting their lives on the line for their country. If people saw themselves in their enemies, I believe the idea of enemies would not exist between them. People would treat each other with respect and be there to help, even if it is from a far distance. All the pain would be shared and each party would try to prevent that pain from happening again.

  • Anonymous says:

    The act of war is not one of sympathy, consideration or understanding of the opposing side. It is a political action where people remove themselves emotionally and impartially complete a task. For some, it is out of anger or hatred that they take the steps towards combat and for others it is just their compliance to a higher power.
    The particular battle between the Palestinians and Israelis is irrational and unreasonable. The long lasting disgust the two parties have in regards for one other is both distasteful and disgraceful. Perhaps it is their lack of understanding of one another’s culture and civilization that brings about the war. It is clear that neither community has a sense of compassion for the other.
    Unfortunately, I do not believe that Dr. Abuelaish’s family tragedy will change circumstances for Israel or Palestine. The hatred that exists will not disappear or calm because of this unintended misfortune. On one hand, this may even bring about more drive for revenge.
    In general, education and positive relationships between individuals of different race and ethnicity undeniably promotes peace rather than war. When people accept, or better yet, understand another’s culture and traditions different than their own, they can more easily relate and understand the reasons for their behaviors. This helps generate healthy relationships. And once this is established, people would not be so quick to harm the brothers and sisters of their friend’s ethnicity. When you turn those differences into similarities, there is less motivation to harm.
    It is saddening to think that innocent Dr. Abuelaish is suffering to such an extent. His kind and generous deeds only brought him unwarranted circumstances. The beings that strive for peace and try to remove themselves from conflict, in some cases find themselves as more of a target. The citizens living in both countries live their lives in fear and danger. The possibility that an unjustified explosion may happen on their school bus or to their neighbors forever remains an unavoidable, nasty thought in their heads. So many people have lost their loved ones over the best decade and throughout this war. I cannot even begin to imagine what it would take to end the suffering. It is so obvious that this is a losing war; in whatever light it is examined. Why, after all this time we cannot seem to reach a point of peace or understanding between the two countries, is a real mystery to me.
    Although I do not feel directly affected by the Iraqi war, it still saddens me to think that there do exist a plethora of stories that could just as well be advertised on the news…but that would mean getting rid of commercials and never turning off your television to hear them for the next 10 years.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sometimes things go on around the world, in our own country, and even in our own state that don’t really affect us. You see it on the news, read about it in the newspaper, or hear about it from someone your talking to, and for that minute you feel the compassion, the horror, or the joy that the story brings to you, but for many people as soon as you turn off the TV, or put away the newspaper, or say goodbye to the person you’re talking to that feeling goes away. Unless we’re affected personally most of us don’t even think about the things that completely devastate others. I live in New York, and thank God I don’t know anyone that was hurt or killed in the September 11th attacks, so for weeks I grieved with my country, worried about what was going to happen next, and felt horrible for anyone who was killed, and for the families that were torn apart, but after a few months the memory and thoughts drifted into the back of my mind. It didn’t hit me how much it effects people still to this day until I was babysitting one day. It was my first time watching her and it went smoothly, I helped her with her homework, made her dinner, gave her a bath, and went upstairs to tuck her in. I could hear her talking as I approached the door and figured she was playing a little before she went to bed, but as I opened the door I could hear her more clearly, she was praying. I could hear her asking God to bless her family and protect her daddy, I stood in silence. Then she started talking to her dad, she said that she missed him and she giggled a little as she told him she got an A on her spelling test. I let her finish before I went in, I tucked her in under her blankets and as I turned off the lights she said “night Michelle” I smiled, and as I pulled the door closed I heard her say “night daddy, I love you” and that’s when it hit me. For girls like her September 11th wasn’t just something that happened 8 years ago and it was over, it was something that changed every day for the rest of her life. And now the more stories I read about the war, the more I think about that little girl, and the lives that are affected every single day by wars going on all around the world.

  • Anonymous says:

    Millions of people in our world today are living their lives with no idea of the bloodshed and deaths that are happening right now. I have to admit I do not have much knowledge of this myself. I am concerned about getting my college diploma and finding a job, I do not see any bombs exploding houses in my backyard therefore I feel like it does not concern me one bit. Hearing the story of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish sure has given me a large insight to the pain and suffering I think so little about. This man has reported the wars he has seen and devoted his life to promoting peace. Watching the videos I can see he is a very well liked and well known figure putting positive thoughts in the minds of suffering middle easterners. What does he get in return? He got to witness the death of his three daughters as a result of everything he has been fighting against. Seeing his anguish was unbearable. If that is not heartbreaking enough to make you want to become more educated on these horrible affairs and become a peacemaker yourself then I don’t know what does. Yes there is little compassion between warring people and the feeling of others inhuman, but maybe if more stories like Abuelaish’s made daily headlines the world would see war as destroying many innocent humans. It is intriguing to think about war from an opposing side. For example, what if you were an Iraqi right now overseas watching Americans walk around with guns looking for anyone to make a wrong move and BAM an explosion erupts with the high possibility that your innocent child was playing ball right next to the man just shot resulting in half his face blown to pieces. Not a great thought, upsetting actually. This is the insight the world needs to see. The media should work on this, really trying to get the world to take a step back and think less about enemies and more about the innocent. These wars are all about power, but who wants to live under a man with power that could have been responsible for killing your very own family. These people who want power from war even claim it is for the safety of their country and their people. They certainly are not worried about their safety in the process of this now are they? They are setting bombs on either their own land or another which will then surely result in returning bombs. Oh yea that is some real safety for one’s country, bombs flying around. So when we think about war, we need to think about the innocent, for they are the real victims. Put yourself in their place, nothing comes from war but pain and suffering, NEVER peace.

  • Anonymous says:

    Considering I was for Bush’s presidency, I agreed with our war and position in Iraq. Although, I knew we had many soldiers, people of our country, in danger, I still felt that it was a good idea. I definitely felt thankful for the Americans that were willing to put their lives on the line for the pride of our country. However, I never truly, in actuality, thought about the pain that it could not only cause that person, but also their loved ones. And, not only does that go for the Americans, but also the families all across the world. Yes, we may be fighting for different sides, but in reality, we are all the same. We are all humans. We almost get so caught up in this war, that we forget to truly think about what is happening. If we truly thought about what was happening, then we wouldn’t let it happen. We are killing people everyday, and in that, we are killing their families, and we don’t really even think about it.
    I was guilty of being naïve and insensitive about this war. I do think that it may have been the best choice for our country because of what was happening, but I didn’t really think about anything else. That was until one of my good friend’s lost her fiance. I never actually thought that something so drastic could happen to someone so close to me. When I actually hear the words that he was “shot in the head”, my mouth dropped. People actually shoot other people in the head? I knew he was in the war in Iraq and that obviously there were weapons involved. But, I guess that was me being naïve when I didn’t think that something so horrible like that could happen. Hours later, my friend had still not heard from him, and never did. Instead, she got a phone call from one of his relatives, that he had passed away. When the words hit my friend, her entire life collapsed. I have never lost someone so close to me, that I literally couldn’t stand up. When I saw the effect that this war had on my friend, I was disgusted and so angry that I agreed with this. Why? Why was I all for people getting shot and dying? Apparently I didn’t realize the damage that could actually occur. When something so drastic like this occurs, we remain in disbelief. We think that we, as humans, aren’t capable of that, but in reality, we are. This will change her life forever. When I finally saw and realized the war’s effects on my loved ones, I truly felt the pain for Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish.. The pain for him that will never go away. If it becomes reality to our own personal lives, our views seem to change.

  • Anonymous says:

    War is a terrible reality that countries face. I believe that any war can be avoidable. People seem to think that wars between differing countries or differing types of people are necessary. The plain honest truth is that they are not necessary. No good can come out of death and destruction. Innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan have died because of these wars but yet, Americans still believe that we should continue to do what we do. Americans only see one side of the story. If the American media truthfully showed the Iraq war from an Iraqi point of view, then the American people might have a different opinion about what is going on overseas. Just because government officials and politicians got a country into war, doesn’t mean that the war is justified. People need to put war into perspective. Death, poverty, and destruction are some of the many things that people all over the world inherently do not want to have happen to them. These commonalities permeate throughout all people – regardless of race. People’s values don’t change just because he or she is from another country and has different beliefs and standards. The case with Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a perfect example of how people have inherently similar values. Nobody wants to lose a loved one. If Israelis can see and understand the pain and suffering that one Palestinian man had to face, then why can’t they see the pain and suffering that all Palestinians face? The same could be said about the pain that Palestinians have caused to Israelis. I believe that it is harder to fight someone once you put a specific face to him or her. It is easy for people to sit back and make excuses about why one country should go to war with another, but the truth is that people are just plain misunderstood. A simple understanding of people, place, and culture may help alleviate any differences between different people. I believe that people who want war to happen truly do not wish to open up and have an understanding of the people whom they want to go to war with. Iraqis are not that different from Americans. Both Iraq and America want to have peace and prosperity in their country. If Americans get to see Iraqi families that have suffered in the same way Israelis saw Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish suffer, they would probably have a different perspective on the war. I believe that there is only a one international truth in the world and that truth is that people trust people who are like themselves. If people could put themselves into other people’s shoes, then they would realize that we are not so different after all. If a person treats another person the same way he or she would want to be treated then the world would be a better place.

  • Anonymous says:

    The pain of what Dr. Abuelaish is feeling right now must be terribly agonizing. As many may know, it is very hard to lose the life of a loved one or of someone that is very close to you. Not only does it not seem fair to lose three family members all at once, but to such a peacemaker as Dr. Abuelaish, it just seems utterly cruel. This must put him in such a hard position for the war he is trying so hard to end, has just ended the life of his three daughters and his niece. Now how can someone go back and still act as peacefully as they were before, knowing that these people took the life of his beloved daughters? After watching the video and reading the story, I felt that it was almost impossible to not feel terrible for this loving doctor. How could you not? It seems that he did nothing but try to create peace. When it comes to war, something has to provoke it. The attacks on the twin towers on September 11, 2001, that killed thousands of innocent Americans, provoked the United States to react instinctively and immediately advance to defend our country. When we hear that Iraqis are killed in the war, we are less sympathetic because we know what has already happened and what they have done to our country. We feel more empathy for U.S. soldiers that are killed because we feel more directly related and closer to them. I’ve always felt that the closer that a person is to me, the harder it would be to deal with their death. However, to see that faces of anyone, familiar or unfamiliar, in a time where they have lost a loved one, it is hard not to feel any emotion. It seems to me, that the war in Iraq, is sometimes in a whole different world. The life of seeing others die in front of you every day, and coping with loss, just seems so distant from my daily life. Stories like the one of Dr. Abuelaish are a reality check for many Americans who seem to have forgotten what is really going on over in the Middle East. Not only are there Iraqis dying everyday, but there are also Americans soldiers over there fighting for our country that are also dying. At this point in time I feel that the war is doing nothing but taking lives. This also means that the same way that Dr. Abuelaish was affected by the loss of his daughters is happening in the lives of many other families every single day. I hope and believe that one day this world will be free of war for then will we finally be able to say that we have taken a step closer in trying to achieve world peace.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am the step daughter of a United States Soldier who is serving a term in Iraq. Everyday we are challenged by our own minds on whether something is going to happen. To be honest, all we do is pray and hope for the best since we cannot personally affect what is happening over there. My Uncle is also serving a term in Iraq; the difference between my step-dad and my uncle is my uncle is in the heart of the war zone. He is a young soldier that came right now of high school and went right into the military. He had a wife and two young children, who could possibly never see him again.
    The story about the doctor that helps people has truly touched me. He is saving people that are sick, and yet his family was killed by people he thought were his friends. This story is not just about him, but it is also about every person in general. I heard the story about the plane that landed in the Hudson River. Dr. Phil had an episode on his show and it touched me again. The people who survived the plane crash are asking themselves why they lived. I would probably do the same. Maybe God has a purpose for all those people, or maybe he just wanted us to realize how purposeful life is. It makes me wonder what the peoples last thoughts were as the plane was going down, and how so many people kept calm. I know that the doctor is feeing pain. I feel for him. This is another example of how life isn’t fair. My own story is my step dad was telling me about one of his soldier who got shot in open fire. He was helping the kids in Iraq and my step dad was there with him. He was giving the children food, and figured it would be safe to not wear his chest protector. He made the wrong choice because open fire began and he was killed. The family was devastated because the government doesn’t want to give the family the money they deserve. This is a situation that is frequently happening to United States soldiers families. This article gave me new insight on how much the world is fighting; how unfair everything can be. How do people kill other people? How can there be so much violence that most people don’t even understand why they are fighting in the first place? I know fights continue because it is passed down through generations. For example, gangs. Some gangs don’t even know why they are fighting. So why continue to fight? Maybe it is a pride issue? But seriously, can their ever be peace on Earth? I can guarantee that peace on Earth will not come during my generation or the next. It is going to take time and for people to view the world differently. The main question is, why is their so much violence to people who are good, such as Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish?

  • Anonymous says:

    “The grief of war comes full circle” is an interesting blog, but it is human nature that we are talking about changing, and that will never happen. Every time we see someone different from us, we get scared. If we are white, we feel safe hanging out with people who are white. It is the same for people who are Asian. Why is it that most times you see an Asian person (not from this country) walking on campus, they are with a friend. It is because we are comfortable with people that look like us. In the 1840’s, the British invaded the Irish, called them savages, and basically led to over 3 million Irish coming over to the Americas, and another 1 million dying of hunger in Ireland. The British saw the Irish as another race, different then them, and so they were scared. The British were more powerful, so they basically destroyed the Irish way of life. It is the same thing with slaves in the new world. Owners were scared of them, so they made them work ridiculous hours so that they could never revolt. Many slave owners had sleepless nights, not knowing if the slaves were going to revolt and kill them. This is exactly what is going in Gaza. The Israeli’s are afraid of the Palestinians, and vice versa. The problem is, that both of them have weapons that can cause massive destruction. Another problem about this war is that it is about religion. War never ends when it is about religion. They are going to continue to blow each other up until one of them wipes the other one off the planet. Its sad, but it’s the only way it will ever be solved. A funny thing about this is that everyone is the same. Its true. My sister was in Ireland studying abroad last fall. She was one of the three Americans she met at the university. She said that everyone, whether Irish, German, English, Russian, UAE, everyone acts the same. She said that people in Germany act no different then kids in the states. All humans are like 99% the same, and yet we always find a way to polarize ourselves from another group. It’s sad, because we are all the same, and yet we can always find a reason to hate someone. Whether it’s religion, race, sex, orientation, or anything. In our society we generally think about the problems between blacks and whites, in the Middle East it is between Palestinians and Israeli’s, in Rwanda it was the Tutsis and the Hutu’s. There is no science or reason why one group hates another. Like I stated in the first sentence, it is human nature to find something to dislike about a group, and sadly the group with the larger military power or the most resources will win the conflict.

  • Tina says:

    I think it is true that one person’s story, such as Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s, can help to change the minds of some people. This man worked to help people all of his life. He is a doctor and news reporter for the Israelis, keeping people informed with the military feud. By doing this, he tries to stop some innocent people from getting hurt. That makes his story very ironic. He works to help people and keep them safe and healthy and his own family was hurt. I cannot imagine how he felt knowing that his own people bombed and killed some of his family members. He must have felt so betrayed. I also think it is very ironic, that even he as a doctor, had to rush his children to the hospital and was not able to help them. The Israelis are bombing their own innocent people, sometimes when they think they are being attacked. Both sides bomb neighborhoods trying to find their enemy, but many times they are finding their own people and bombing them. Other people, like Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, need to spread their stories around. I feel as though before both sides stop attacking one another, it will take someone close to them to get hurt. But do we really need to wait this long? If more Israelis spread their stories, maybe the Israeli military will start to open their eyes and see their own innocent people are being hurt and sometimes even killed. Regarding our own wars, the same idea needs to be applied. Our own people are hurting and the enemy is hurting. Everyone on every side has their own families and cultures. Every person has their own story to tell and their own reason to live. When fighting wars, we are fighting to get hurt and maybe even die. Wars tear lives and stories apart. Isn’t it great to have a person come home from war to be with their family? Our world would be so much different if we stepped back and listened to each other. We see each other from a distance and do not understand what is going on in each others lives, except the fact that we are enemies. Neither side seems to see a face on the other person or see the person in general. What about war that has to do with individual people? So many people do not like each other because of race or sexuality, but what if we could see the stories behind them? A person could be very withdrawn or mean, but until we hear their story we think exactly that, they are just mean. What if their story has to do with getting beat as a child or neglected? Then we all understand why they may be withdrawn. “You obviously cannot judge a book by it’s cover.” We need to spread our stories and show what war, in all senses of the word, does to people everywhere. If we start accepting people for who they are and not what they look like or their views, maybe our whole world could change. We can start off by telling one story, like Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s. But more people need to tell their stories too. If we can connect to more people, then possibly there could be peace throughout our world.

  • Anonymous says:

    Though the subject matter of this article is truly heartbreaking, the powerful story lying at its core, and the overarching message being presented, is one citizens of the world must be forced to hear. The extreme pain and undeniable loss of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is intensely unfortunate and extremely real. Not only must he watch as the people inhabiting the two most prominent locations in his life battle bitterly; he has also experienced the death of three daughters and a niece—innocent victims whose lives were ended prematurely—due to the ongoing hatred burning fiercely among these territories. Dr. Abuelaish’s life is positioned at the center of a revolving circuit, within which orbits little aside from resentment, destruction, and the loss of human life. Just as this man must awaken each day to face the severe realities of war, we as constituents of the human race must impose upon ourselves the task of addressing this devastating issue head on, rather than merely turning the other cheek, a skill we have so expertly mastered.
    Since the dawning of established boundaries, divided territories, and the competition for land, power, and affluence (thus, since the beginning of time), man has unthinkingly—almost robotically—assigned himself the role as just and virtuous in thought and act. It is simply human nature to view ourselves as the party which is in the right, and our adversary whom is always in the wrong. This mode of thinking has become so instinctive and almost rather innate, that we disregard the fact that our enemies are, in fact, human beings. By designating our own personal and individual interests and objectives (or, perhaps in this case, our nation’s) as those which are honorable and superior and, those which should thus be achieved, we are doing more than simply disagreeing with our opponent. When a country’s borders are being threatened, or a state’s sovereignty is in jeopardy, political leaders go to any extent to protect such symbols of authority and power. In fact, the lengths to which individuals will go to defend their assemblage—whether their cause be identified as patriotic, religious, ethnic, or racial—is infinite. When a faction of individuals engage in conflict with another—one whom is in some manner distinct from themselves—and sense that their beliefs, ideology, rituals, or customs are in danger, members of mankind become desensitized to the significant value of human life. We become so enamored with the will to defend and triumph, that we lose perception of the fact that citizens of humankind are being brutishly murdered. We—the inhabitants of the world as a whole—have become dehumanized. An overwhelming number of American citizens no longer look at Iraqi men (even civilians) as the father of a child, or a brother, or son, or husband. Rather, they view them as merely a figure with whom we are at war. We have lost the ability to empathize with the pain and suffering of those we deem our enemies, and therefore, we have lost a large portion of our humanity and compassion.
    The great irony of this tragic reality lies in the truth that we all—allies and foes alike—desire the same basic outcome: the termination of animosity and the commencement of peace. There is not a country or collaboration of peoples inhabiting the world which enjoy being at war. In times of conflict, nonetheless, people lose sight of their enemies as living entities, stripping away from them these human qualities. It is for this reason that warring peoples fail to reflect upon the situation of their adversary. If individuals engaging in hostilities were selfless enough to be capable of envisioning the plight of their opponent as a result of such warfare, the span of time spent in battle would diminish. Simply imagining ourselves walking in the shoes of our enemy would result in a lessened degree of enmity and aggression. As human beings, regardless of the church we attend, the heritage with which we identify, or the country which we call our home, we all wish to conduct our lives in manner which generates safety, happiness, and harmony. Thus, as human beings, regardless of race, territorial borders, ethnic differences, and authoritative power, we must recognize and acknowledge all who dwell upon this earth not as friend or foe, but simply as people, having essentially the same wants, deserving the same respect, and, all of whom, entitled to life.

  • Anonymous says:

    It is always tough watching someone that is in pain because of the death of a loved one. I don’t think that it matters who you are, whether you are at war or at peace, whether you were the killer or not, it is always hard to watch someone who is in pain. Many of us should know this if you go to the funeral of someone that you don’t know, but you see their family. This feeling hits home because many of us have felt that same pain, and know how difficult it is to know that whomever it is that you love is not coming back. However, I think it is very important to understand that many of the people who are killing are not seeing these repercussions of the family…and I think that is ok. I understand that people must be responsible for their actions, and that killing is never ever a good thing. However these people are at war. They have been at war for a very long time. The war in Israel is no ordinary war either, it is a religious war. This is in one sense the worst kind, because the suicide bombers, and the people launching bombs into civilian neighborhood believe in one sense that what they are doing is for a greater good.
    I am in no way trying to justify that war is right and good and that people are not being hurt. And do I think that the enemy should see the faces of the grieving families? Maybe. This is a question that I am not sure I can answer. I do not think that anyone ever wants to be at war. If seeing the faces of the families that were grieving would solve the problem, and suddenly we would have world peace…sure go for it. However I am not so sure that this is the case. Seeing the grieving faces is always difficult, because we are all human. For the most part, I don’t think if people on opposite sides saw the grieving of their enemy’s family that they would be elated. I think that they would still have empathy for the other’s families unless they were truly psychotic. In answer to the question, “How would “our” Iraq war be different?” if we could see the faces of the grieving…I don’ t think that it would be. We would still be in the same predicament that we are in now, and that is…how to leave. I do not think that the government or Americans want us to stay in Iraq any longer than we have to. Watching the faces of the grieving families will neither speed up nor slow down our leaving of that country. I believe that Bush made a huge mistake in invading Iraq. However, the fact is that we have to clean up the mess, and I believe that if we leave immediately there will only be more bloodshed, and we’ll still be watching the grieving families. There is never any easy answer or outcome when it comes to war.

  • Anonymous says:

    The violence is getting out of hand I hope this will once and for all stop the violence and if not decrease it. This was the last straw for me. Killing someones family who did nothing. This doctor worked hard to help people and what did he get in return? Someone killed his kids and neice. Thats cruel. The thing that killed me the most was when he asked why they did it and they said someone in his house was shooting at them or something like that. Which I believe to be a bunch of crap. I think they just said it to cover up their tracks. Its possible they just did it to do it. And they shot the wrong people. The doctor barely has anyone now. Just a surviving daughter. He lost his wife and now his kids and neice. When will the violence stop? When will all this tragedy end? When will we be able to live in peace? When will people wake up and realize that violence isn’t always the answer? I can’t even watch the news without them talking about people shooting and killing others… This violence is really getting out of hand. And if we keep it up it will get worse than this. No one deserves to take someones life. This war should end. But it doesnt seem like no one is trying to make it happen. They’re all talk but no one is really taking the iniative to make this happen. And if the war still goes on think about all of the people that will die because of it. How many broken homes there will be. How much poverty there will be. How many families that will lose many loved ones in the war and out because as seen they aren’t just killing people fighting in the war they are killing the ones that have nothing to do with the war including kids. Which has got to stop. Kids should not have to suffer because of someone elses battle. They should leave the young ones out of it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was overcome with emotion when I first heard about the events detailing Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish and the tragedy that occurred this past Friday. I became particularly upset when I learned of his peace-making nature, and wondered if he could ever revert back to being such a peaceful man after suffering from the nature of his loss. I am not sure if I would be able to maintain my composure after such an enormous loss.

    In this case, as in all other cases, I believe that a single face can make a difference. At the very least, a single face allows people to see the human in each other. A Palestinian doctor, Dr. Abuelaish was a friend to many Israelis. Many people, Israelis and Palestinians alike, see the immense pain Dr. Abuelaish is under and hope that the deaths of three of his children and one niece will be the wake up call that is desperately needed to end the conflicts in Gaza.

    In terms of our own wars, many people can go through their days without thinking about either one. I’m still trying to figure out if that’s a good or bad thing. Regardless, many people choose to think of the Iraqis as simply the enemy, giving little thought to the people “over there.” It’s hard to think about the people “over there” because unless we are personally connected, we really have no idea! We have never had a war in America; therefore, we have never had to deal with things like people kicking our doors down or having a gun pointed to our heads. Even if we do not know someone who is fighting in the war, taking a minute to think about what it is like to experience war in our own homes would certainly make us feel differently.

    The older I get, the more I realize how similar all of us are. We more or less go through the same things – whatever they may be. I am a big fan of PostSecret, an ongoing community mail art project created by Frank Warren, where people mail their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard. The emotions I experience after reading the secrets are usually mixed. On one hand, I feel sad because most of the secrets are pretty depressing. On the other hand, I think that many of the secrets are things we all keep to ourselves. These secrets have made me realize that many of us go through related experiences. I often wonder if someone who I have disagreements with have similar thoughts as me – and I often come to the conclusion that yes, they do! PostSecret reminds me of this and helps me be more open minded.

  • Anonymous says:

    The blog entry titled The Grief of War Comes Full Circle discusses an incident in which a Palestinian doctor who works in Israel loses three of his daughters and his niece to an Israeli attack. After watching the videos that the blog linked to, I found myself almost numbed by the terrible tragedy that Dr. Abuelaish has had to endure as a result of the current conflict between Israel and Palestine. It is even more numbing to imagine the thousands of other such horrible tragedies that have resulted from this fighting. I completely agree with the main point that is suggested by the blog entry: If we could see stories like this about Iraqis, maybe our troops would have already been withdrawn from Iraq.

    One of the most harrowing things about Dr. Abuelaish’s story is that he was not a militant member of Hamas. He was a good man living in Palestine who lived his life in search of peace and who healed both Palestinians and Israelis at the hospital where he worked. It is often the case that innocent civilians are the casualties of war even though they have done nothing wrong. They are simply collateral damage: acceptable losses by military standards. From the videos, it seems that Dr. Abuelaish was a victim of either faulty intelligence reports or faulty weapons targeting. One of the videos stated that Israeli troops had been fired upon “from the direction” of Dr. Abuelaish’s home.

    As Americans, we don’t really see many stories like this about Iraqi and Afghani civilian casualties. Sure, some news networks might break down the numbers for us (though others might think it “unpatriotic” or “defeatist” to even give us this much information), but we hardly ever see the stories about the lives of the people that died as a result of collateral damage or incorrect intelligence. Many Americans seem to have become desensitized when it comes to numbers. Either that or maybe it is just hard to imagine thousands of innocent civilians dead simply because they happened to live in Iraq in an area that had been targeted for an airstrike.

    I believe if news networks would actually start broadcasting stories like Dr. Abuelaish’s from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the American people would get a better understanding of the effects our wars are having on innocent civilians. Maybe they will even be able to put themselves in the position of those civilians and try to imagine how terrible it would be to lose family and friends to bomb explosions that don’t differentiate between innocent and guilty. It is often stories like Dr. Abuelaish’s, stories that put a “human face” on the effects of war, that prompt people to advocate peace. I think that if we all made an effort to read about civilian casualties and imagine what it would be like to be like Dr. Abuelaish and lose three of your daughters because you lived in the general direction from which the Israelis were being attacked that we as a people would be a lot more selective of the conflicts we chose to initiate.

  • ally gross says:

    Wars today are faceless. It is not a person killing another person; it is an army killing the enemy. How many times a day do you think about the war, which the United States is fighting, in the Middle East? Unless you have a close friend or family member in the military, the chances that you rarely think about the war are high. This is part of the depersonalization process put in part by the military and media. If you do not see the “enemy” as another person, then you are less likely to feel grief for their death. This holds true for the people in our own military as well. I bet a majority of American citizens have no idea the number of American soldiers killed during this war. Families, both American and Arabian, are being torn apart, but unless we directly know the family being torn apart, we do not see that side of war. We see soldiers die. Faceless men that we feel close to no remorse for. If we saw all of these casualties as fathers, or sons, or uncles or brothers maybe it would be harder for us to partake in war. Like someone stated, friends don’t fight against their friends. It is horrible that it takes the death of three young girls to show people the grief, but it shows a face, a person, who is being punished by war. Media has an enormous part in this phenomena. The media does not show war. People do not agree with war right now, so that means bad ratings. Every now and then you will see a sad story about an American soldier and his family. And while this does promote grief, it probably also produces at least at the smallest level, a hatred for the opposing side. Never does the media show the grieving stories of the opposing, Iraqi families. Never are the casualties of the opposing side flashed across the evening news. Grief is not something promoted through the media unless it gets ratings. It is ridiculous that a majority of Americans can tell you who Angelina Jolie is married to, but can not state how many American soldiers have died in the Middle East. While it can definitely be blamed on the American people themselves, it can also partially be blamed on the media. This is the stuff they are showing us. Feeding us day after day. I feel the lack of draft is another reason we are as a society are not as interested in the war. The war is not on our turf, so the only people affected by the war are the volunteer soldiers and their families. Wars today are much different than they have been in the past.

  • Damian Tossi says:

    As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues, many people have still encountered the deaths of their friends and family. For Palestinian doctor Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, he must now face the fact that three of his daughters along with his niece are dead. As I began watching the television segment, I noticed that the news reporter Dr. Izzeldin was talking to was in shock. He was a friend of Dr. Izzeldin’s and expressed his emotions towards a caring friend. For a man who has spent his whole life helping out others in the hospital, I feel that this is a situation he can never get rid of. Despite his background, many Israelis have cherished this individual for his hard work. Why are we still having conflicts across countries in which we know innocent lives will be in the middle of it? It seems that the Palestinians and Israelis don’t see each other as part of the human race. When I think of this conflict, I can’t help but think how the government is responding to this. They know that parents work hard all day to support their children. They also know that parents want their children to become responsible and have the necessary education to move on in life. Next thing you know they are caught in the middle of battle leaving some wounded let alone dead. I feel that these soldiers have no remorse for how other people feel. Instead, they are caught up with all this religion and political nonsense. What I feel is the most shocking is that they know parents and children are going to get hurt if they are seeking the enemies in battle. This conflict has to stop or more people are going to be injured as well as cities being destroyed. My grandfather, who served for the U.S. Air Force, told me it was one of the most difficult challenges he had to face. Even though he was born from Iran, he came to the U.S. because he knew what happened if he returned. If we knew the faces of those struggling now, I would not be able to imagine if my friends or family were dead. My parents have worked hard to get where they are at now. If I somehow lost them due to the misconception of war, this would never let go. I wish there was a way we can get together as a nation and discuss plans on ending this hatred. Even though I am not Israeli or Palestinian, I feel that strong and growing lives should not be handled by guns and missiles. For Dr. Izzeldin, it’s now the fact the children he has raised his whole life are dead. Like him, no other individual deserves this. I feel that our lives should not be hindered on the fact of war but accomplish everything we can peacefully before we pass away. Racism in politics has become a dangerous combination which I feel needs to end now.

  • Anonymous says:

    War…what is it good for, really? I have always wondered why people use violence to get what they want; it hurts many more people than it helps. I remember when I was younger in social studies class, speculating why wars are necessary to gain land or whatever it is that the opposing sides are fighting for. Hopefully I don’t sound naïve, but I still do not see how fighting and killing can ultimately lead to “winning.”
    Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is obviously not the first person to lose loved ones by the horrific events that plague the Middle East (as well as any other region that has been involved in wars and violence). My point is, that if people are just starting to look at these wars as a possible way of killing innocent, harmless people because of the experiences of one well known and well liked man, what have they been thinking happens of the other side of the line for all of these years?
    I think it is often really hard for people to imagine what is happening on the other side of the fight because under normal circumstances, people are against the beliefs, values, etc. of the opposite side and are so focused on winning that they never really take the time to think about the other people’s safety and well-being. Even though I am completely aware of the War on Terrorism, and I know that US troops are dying every day for the rest of our country, I have never really been worried that the violence will immediately affect my life. It is the complete opposite for Israelis and other people in the Middle East. I would assume that they have become quite accustomed to the fighting since it has been occurring constantly for a long period of time. Until now, I have never really thought what it would be like to live in a constant state of fear, never knowing where the next bomb would fall, who you could lose in a mere instant and never see again. I do not really believe that if leaders and other authority figures thought about the consequences of war a little bit more, we would have world peace; it is such a lovely thought but as bad as it sounds, war is inevitable.
    The two videos showing Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish are tragic, sad, and real. They definitely touched every viewer, and struck and emotional chord in all of us, and hopefully made everyone put themselves in someone else’s shoes. I think that peaceful times can occur, but only to an extent. When the US aired so much of the Vietnam War on television for everyone to see, there was so much anti-war action in America. However, the actions of the “doves” did not eliminate war all together, but in their fight, the war eventually came to an end, yet here we are again, causing more unnecessary battles and wounds. I am not a pessimist, I am a realist. I really, truly do want world peace, but I know it is a far-fetched dream.

  • danny says:

    Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is and was a man of peace, and his commitment to amity will certainly be tested through these next couple of months. What happened to him and his family is something no human should have to deal with. Dr. Abuelaish and his children were civilians, and mere bystanders to the bloodshed that engulfed their neighborhood. They were caught in the crossfire of a war that is not worth the bullets being fired, let alone the lives being taken. Although Dr. Abuelaish suffered a devastating and terrible tragedy, there is still a chance for some good to come out of it. For Dr. Abuelaish the good will not outweigh the profound evil that was inflicted upon him, but given the right stage and set of ears, he has the opportunity to, god willingly, change the way warring people see their enemies. Dr. Abuelaish’s story although devastatingly sad, is far from unique. In every war there is innocent life lost. Whether it is a bystander or fighter. The only way to stop this senseless loss of life is by convincing the world that we are all human and we are all brothers. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish has been spreading this word for years, but now his commitment to peace shall be truly tested. It is easy for one to preach peace when no real harm has been done to them, but it is much more difficult when one has lost loved ones due to a war or conflict. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish has the opportunity to overpower and extinguish the hatred and loathing that he must feel toward the Israeli army, and find the will to once again preach peace. It is the hatred that billows from the loss of a loved one in a senseless act that makes people forget that we are all the same. If Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish can find it in his heart to forgive the men responsible for firing the shell into his home, he will be one step closer to changing the world. If he does decide to forgive the men, and go on air and explain to the people the tragedy that has taken his three daughters and niece, and furthermore make clear why it is so important that he does not resort to hatred and violence, the impact could be ground breaking. Humanity needs to understand that by resorting to hatred and violence, you are only adding fuel to the already blazing fire, and being taught through example is the best way. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is now faced with a very unique and highly significant decision, and I can only hope that he sees the opportunity that lies in front of him, and for his sake, his daughters sake, as well as humanity’s sake, he uses his devastating experience to show the world that peace and love triumph over evil.