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

  • Emily says:

    “The Grief of War Comes Full Circle,” ironically, brings up a lot of points that my friends and I were discussing this past weekend. Some of you know what I am talking about, you and a bunch of your friends on a Saturday night, a little drunk, sitting in a circle and getting into discussions that just shouldn’t be discussed between people that have been drinking.
    Well, our discussion was all about perception- how two people could look at something and see two completely different things, but agree that they are seeing the same thing because neither really knows what the other is seeing. If each American could see what people in Iraq are seeing, without the bias of being an American, I think their opinions of this war would change drastically. This would mean we would have to block out all that we know of the people of Iraq, what they have done to our country, and we would just have to see them as humans, as families. This completely un-biased perception is pretty impossible since we cannot erase the knowledge we have, but we can take steps that help us see the people that have done us wrong as just that, people. We all bleed the same and we all feel the same emotions, our values and ethics are the things that are different. This is all easier said than done. Like everything that is hard, this cannot be resolved overnight, this is something that our country will need to work on for the rest of its future.
    I think the media has played such a huge role in this war going on and if anything can help change America’s vision of the people we are warring with, it is the media. If the media showed more about families and children and villages of the people we are against, how would people respond? Would they be less inclined to stay and fight? Yes, I believe so.
    All of this reminds me of one of my favorite songs, The General, by Dispatch and I think these lyrics apply to this topic perfectly:

    There was a decorated general with
    a heart of gold, that likened him to
    all the stories he told
    of past battles, won and lost, and
    legends of old a seasoned veteran in
    his own time

    on the battlefield, he gained
    respectful fame with many medals
    of bravery and stripes to his name
    he grew a beard as soon as he could
    to cover the scars on his face
    and always urged his men on

    but on the eve of a great battle
    with the infantry in dream
    the old general tossed in his sleep
    and wrestled with its meaning
    he awoke from the night
    just to tell what he had seen
    and walked slowly out of his tent

    all the men held tall with their
    chests in the air, with courage in
    their blood and a fire in their stare
    it was a grey morning and they all
    wondered how they would fare
    till the old general told them to go home

    [CHORUS:]
    I have seen the others
    and I have discovered
    that this fight is not worth fighting
    I have seen their mothers
    and I will no other
    to follow me where I’m going

  • Anonymous says:

    I cannot begin to imagine the grief and frustration that the doctor must have felt to loose so many of his children after loosing his wife in this war. I don’t think that those of us who have lived in the United States for the majority of our lives or those of us who have never lived or spent an extended of amount of time in a war zone can begin to understand what it means to literally be surrounded by death. Especially in Israel where for thousands of years people have been fighting in order to say that this Holy Land is theirs; to say that they control God’s land. As a person who was raised with very few religious beliefs I don’t understand the idea of killing in the name of your peaceful god in order to please her in some way or to protect her holy land from those other people. Israeli’s are killing the Palestinians, but for what? This cycle of one side killing a member of the other side and then that side killing 10 so the other in turn kills 30 and so on. Gandhi said that and eye for and eye level us all blind, but throughout watching this conflict I can’t help but wonder how he would have reacted to and eye for 20 eyes. I try to avoid taking sides in situations like this, when I know deep beliefs and strong emotions are involved but I read a news article last week that said something along the lines of 500 Palestinians and 3 Israeli’s dead in the most recent conflict. At what point should we as an international superpower step back and say that this is ridiculous. And in some respects should the United States be ashamed of ourselves for not stepping in diplomatically at the United Nation and politically through presidential press conferences and phone calls to the prime minister.
    I think one of the main reasons that we as Americans have such difficulty understanding the real meaning of war is that we have not had a war within the U.S in over 100 years. We can see the photographs and hear the stories, but the majority of us are so detached that it doesn’t affect us anymore. The majority of us have never even been to a war zone or to a refugee camp to understand what this means. If we would take the time to even imagine what we would feel if one day you left your apartment and went to class and when you emerged from a basement somewhere all of the buildings on campus and the businesses downtown and you apartment building or house and you car and your roommates were all just gone every single one of you possessions. On top of this for some reason the government has set up a barricade around state college so that no medical help for the injured can enter, no clean water or basic food stuffs can enter. You literally have no where to go and have just lost you closest friends on top of this your cell phone doesn’t work and you have no idea if your family is okay or even alive. How does a person react to this situation? I think if we as a nation began to understand first hand the atrocities of war that we would be less willing to simply send soldiers halfway across the world.
    On the more personal level I believe that what Soc 119 and the RRP seeks to do is one of the best ways to, not only on the individual level but on the global level, end hatred. Talking to those who are different that us is one way of finding common ground and begin to end wars; both large and small. In this situation if the doctor were to gather parents, both Israeli and Palestinian, how would their sadness and frustration over the loss of their children be any different? Maybe they would realize that they formed a hatred for the other from a belief that was passed down to them by their parents and their community. Maybe they would begin to realize that they had never taken the time to reevaluate the beliefs they had always held. Only through first hand experiences and discussion can we begin to understand hatred and war and hopefully to someday end these things.

  • Alex P. says:

    I will never fully understand war. I will never fully understand how people can truly HATE another, to the point that they want them killed. I will never fully understand how a person can believe that blowing himself up will help a cause; suicide bombers don’t get recognition for their actions, they don’t get praise, they don’t get love, or support, or faith, or help, or a feeling of peace, or closer personal relationships….they get DEAD and in his path to remain loyal to a cruel ruling force he succeeds in taking all of those aforementioned qualities away from others, and for what? Did he believe that strapping explosives to his destructible human frame and walking into a market and murdering all of those people in his path would solve a crisis? I guess the answer is yes, but how….how does violence on top of more violence lead to less violence….well, its quite simple…IT DOESN’T!!! It seems that people get so caught up in war and bloodshed that it becomes a part of their history and they cant remember why the fighting stated in the first place….they can’t stop the fighting. I will never fully understand how people can support wars, especially wars based on race and ethnicity. I can better understand wars in which people fight for freedom from oppression, but fighting and killing other humans on the basis of skin color, for instance, is something that boggles my mind. When I hear people say they dislike someone because of their race, religion, sexual preference it makes me sick, how can they judge a stranger based on the way they look? How can they hate another person because they don’t believe in the same God as you, or because they don’t believe in a God at all? Why do we hate based on this? People are people, no matter what we look like, we all need the same things to survive, so why not help each other coexist rather than help each other into our graves?
    I can’t imagine how Dr. Abuelaish feels having seen 3 daughters and a niece perish in front of his eyes. No one should ever have to endure this type of pain. His daughters weren’t soldiers ( not that being a soldier would have made he situation any less painful for the family), they were civilians killed because of anger and hate. I believe that it is easier for people who do not have children in the armed forces to support war. However, they should consider how their family life and values would be affected if their son or daughter was killed at war, I’m guessing that in this case war would look like a pretty terrible option to try and solve a political crisis. We have become de-sensitized to war…maybe because its not being fought at home, maybe because all of the American deaths are not broadcast over the television, maybe because we have lost interest…whatever the case is…its disgusting that people ( not just Americans) are fighting…fighting and dying and we aren’t stopping it. War based on race, religion, and ethnicity is morally corrupt. I will never understand war.

  • Jon Hwang says:

    In a perfect world, there are no wars, there are no shortages, boundaries and no more hate. The Israeli-Palestine problem is a very complex one, where there is no clear right or wrongdoer in the situation. The only clear point that is being made is that there is deep rooted hate and resentment on the part of both parties and that there is a cycle of violence. It seems as if the “eye for an eye” philosophy carries the most weight in this conflict and that both sides are incapable of thinking in the other side’s shoes. In a slightly different way, the same concept can be applied to the United States and some of the foreign policy decisions we make. Most of the time, the media portrays our point of view and only ours even if they do not support the war. Flipping through the major news networks and online websites, I hardly see documentaries chronicling the consequences of our foreign endeavors on the local environment and society. I feel as if US citizens sometimes do weigh our lives more heavily than anyone else’s. It may seem contradictory to argue that this concept goes against a premature withdrawal from Iraq. If we had retreated years ago, Iraq would be in a much more chaotic position than it is now. The government would probably have been overthrown by local and international renegades and the entire country would be without food, water, and a national defense against domestic and international terrorists. Thousands of people were being slaughtered by the Sunni-Shi’ite conflict that was independent of the US occupation. Although I do not condone the deaths of the thousands of Americans already nor will I ever, more Iraqis would have died as result of an early retreat. It is also easy to see Hamas and the Palestinians to be the instigators and the terrorist radicals in this conflict, however they have their own history and reasons for fighting, not just to cause upheaval or to fuel their anti-Semitic rages. I believe that if both sides truly made the effort to understand how the other side felt, many of the wars that are being fought right now would have alternative endings. It’s easy to say war is never the answer, and I do not support it as a plausible and good solution to anything, but sometimes there is no other course of action. I think that is a decision to be made once all of the facts have been brought forth and both sides have tried every possible alternative means to work out their differences.
    It is often easy to criticize other people’s actions when one is safe behind a safety glass. It is different when one is in the same position as the victims and it becomes easier to empathize with their struggles and pains and see how people have to live their lives from the other side.

  • Jessica says:

    Reading the article about Dr. Abuelaish and watching the videos, it is just unbelievable what he has been through and how compassionate he can still be. He seems to be a man who trusts in his belief that he can make a difference and he is committed to it. I think that we could all learn something from Dr. Abuelaish. If we as human beings, capable of feeling and emotion were actually able to stop and think about how others are feeling in their own shoes we might realize what kind of impacts we are having on other peoples’ lives. Many of us go about our daily lives not thinking about other people and things we are doing that can affect them. I feel like sometimes we forget to think that other people are worse off than we are. We get caught up in the moment or in our egocentric self and think that whatever is happening to us is the worst thing in the world. However, if we were to think about other people and see and feel how they are feeling we would realize that almost all of us go through the same emotions and deal with terrible things throughout our lives. Our challenges are what make us stronger. I feel like if we were really able to see other peoples’ lives, that would really change how we view wars and significant events that happen. If we were able to see and feel the abundant families that are being torn apart and killed in Iraq we would feel bad and would have remorse for what we are doing. But we can’t always see the other point of view, so I don’t think we have as much feeling for the ‘enemy’ we are fighting. I am not saying that soldiers don’t feel bad for what they are doing, they are serving our country and protecting us and it is a very tough job and they witness terrible events. I am just saying I think we or they would feel more if they were to be put in their enemies’ shoes. Feeling for the enemy could lead to wanting to make peaceful resolutions instead of war. I also think if we could feel what is like to survive a plane crash and then be able to walk into your home and say hello to your wife and daughter we would feel more connected to the event. As humans we are more attached and interested in things that affect us personally. So when things affect us we become involved and with that comes emotions and understanding. When we are not personally attached I don’t think we clearly understand the situations and have as much emotions for the event. For example September 11 was a huge tragedy in our society and most people view it as a sad and tragic day and most remember where they were when it happened because it was so huge. However, I think there are more feelings attached to the event for people who have loved ones on the planes or in the towers. If we were able to feel how these people felt maybe we would have more compassion and understanding. I think the saying “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes” or the many other sayings like it are so true. We will never really understand other people until we have been through their experiences; but by trying to listen and work along with these people and see their points of view I believe we can become more accepting or understanding of all people. As humans if we could become more accepting and understanding of differences the world could become a much different and maybe better place to live in.

  • Anonymous says:

    If right now we knew about the faces and the people that we affected with each move that we made, then our wars would be different. The people would worry more about the lives that are taken and hopefully more diplomacy will happen. Strikes for peace will be stronger and, our soldiers will hesitate with one more breathe before firing a bullet. As a result our soldiers will weaken, or they will lose peace of mind, and anger will fuel their shots. This might mean that our wars will be fueled with more blood rather than less. A hard question arises in my mind which is, when both sides hesitate for one breathe, does the one with the quickest breathe win? If say the slower one dies, with each death does not the anger of his comrades add to fuel the fires of war and give power to the side that has lost? Or will it strike fear into the eyes of the soldiers making them hesitate forever. Also if we faced an opponent who could surpass the torment of the stories of death, by for example an entity of god, then doesn’t that make the opponent stronger than us?
    However, the good side of this would be that it would unite the world of peace. Pain is universal, and if with every bullet we can feel the pain as if it was our own blood –assuming that we care about our own blood and are not blinded by their deaths- then shootings will have a much higher price and nations will be able to better unite against tyranny by utilizing anger. Will we become a nation hardened until the hearing of sad stories will not faze us, or will we become hermits scared of anything that remotely sounds like the muzzle flash? I do not know enough about military training or the psychology of war to say with any confidence about anything.
    What will our world be like if every human that had to die told their story like in the movies? If I had to pick the route that I thought Americans would take, we would feel sympathy at first for all who have died. This is enough maybe to change our policies, or urge us to talk rather than shoot. Then eventually we would become hardened to the stories, not letting them phase us with each story that we hear. Then each generation that gets born into this new world will find this as normal with less and less resistance from those who find this not normal. Then the hesitation to shoot will disappear, but something about our lifestyle will have changed. This is only the scenario that plays out in my head. I am starting to think that it is more of a luxury to be ignorant.

  • Anonymous says:

    In the beginning of the war every citizen believes and hopes that when their country gets involved in a conflict that it will be quick and their will be minimum amounts of casualties. However, the Israeli and Palestinian conflict has been occurring for many years and it is very hard for the citizens of these countries to stay positive and for the citizens to make peace within the two countries. This is why I think Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a really remarkable because he is a Palestinian doctor that was educated Israeli and works at an Israeli hospital where he helps patients that were attacked by Palestinian attacks. Dr. Abuelaish puts his ethnicity behind him and is committed to his job. He is able to bridge between the two different ethnic groups. However, Dr. Abuelaish patience is running thin because he has recently lost his wife, his three daughters, and his niece in this conflict. How is he supposed to be a promoter of peace between the two groups and remain positive when his family is being killed by the patients he is treating?
    The war on terrorism that is currently going on with the United States is similar to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict because it finds the American citizens frustrated with how long the war is lasting and the number of casualties’ occurring. It is hard listening to the news channels on the television and hearing about all the road side bombs that go off in Iraq that kills American soldiers and Iraqi citizens. It is hard seeing the families that had one of their family members killed. It is even hard seeing families that have members fighting in Iraqi and worry every day hoping that they are alright. I see this through my boyfriend’s family in which his brother is currently fighting in Iraq. My boyfriend’s parents go to church every day to pray in order to make sure their son comes home safe. Since I started dating my boyfriend and seeing how the war brings pain to his family and how this pain is felt by other families in the United State, it makes me want this war to be over quickly. I hope that Obama will be able to fix the war and bring home the soldiers. I think the citizens of Iraq wish that this war would be over also so that they would be able to govern their country by themselves, stop the innocent deaths of civilians, and allow the citizens to feel safe in their country and not worry about attacks.
    However, unlike Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish I do not think that American citizens could be nice and helpful to Iraqi citizens. For example, after September 11th the United States imprisoned many Middle Eastern citizens thinking that they were a threat to the country and could cause another terrorist attack. I know that world peace may not be able to occur but one day I hope that the world could resolve conflicts without going through long drawn out warfare and to stop the unwanted deaths and worry to soldier’s families.

  • Phil M says:

    At many points in our world’s history we have faced wars which reshaped the direction our world was heading. Although lives are lost, people are injured, homes are wrecked and whole cities destroyed these are not the main goals of war. The purpose of war is to oppose groups of destructive or dangerous political strategies that negatively impact the world we live in. Within every war zone are innocent people. There are those who disagree with government, but are threatened to stay quiet. There are those who can leave, but are afraid to leave everything behind. There are also those people who want peace and will stay in hope that one day, peace will come.
    Although the main goal of war is not devastation it is an inevitable part of war. This inevitable outcome is what makes war so difficult and so troubling. As previously stated, during war, innocent people are still present. Innocent people end up being in the center of the conflict. In the current War in the Middle East, the situation that Dr. Abuelaish is facing is common and inevitable. This conflict is another example of how separating the true enemies of war and those who are innocent are difficult and hard to manage. For example, Hamas sets up their war attack zones in Gaza, in locations within the city. They strategically plan to use areas near schools, hospitals, and other areas where bombing is difficult and innocent men, women and children are in danger. According to the Israel Defense Forces http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/01/06/israel.gaza/
    spokesman, “we face a very delicate situation where the Hamas is using the citizens of Gaza as a protective vest.” We all see the pictures on the news of wounded children who are injured in war. My heart does feel for them and their families, but war is dangerous. War is an awful thing, but in the minds of many, every war has its purpose. I may or may not agree with the war in Gaza, or the war in Iraq, but I do understand that loss and tragedy is a part of war.
    There are many situations in which we cannot relate with the enemy. We may not speak the same language, may not believe in the same religious figures, or even value the same things in life, but we all feel pain and suffering. This common suffering is what makes war so hard. If the problem could be isolated, Hamas in the eyes of Israelis, then war would be less tragic while still accomplishing the main goal. Unfortunately, isolating the enemies from innocent civilians is often difficult if not impossible. It is a tragedy that Dr. Abuelaish lost so many close to him, but that is a fact of war. This fact of war is what makes war undesirable and in most cases, especially in America, avoided at all cost.

  • Anonymous says:

    After watching the videos posted in the blog and reading the article about Dr. Abuelaish I feel terrible that something like this had to happen to such a friendly and caring person. I feel like in today’s world, it is very hard to find someone that is as compassionate about peace between enemies as Dr. Abuelaish has been with regards to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. I cannot imagine that after all of the hard work and effort he has displayed to incorporate peace into the lives of others he is not frustrated over the death of his daughters and neice. The death of a family member can be one of life’s most painful encounters, something that no one I know would ever wish to experience, and especially a sudden death that could have been prevented. Although I cannot say I have been personally affected by the deaths of our country’s soldiers at war, it kills me each day when I turn on the news and hear of the casualties overseas. Where I grew up is just outside of New York City and I will never forget the way I felt on September 11th. I have both relatives and family friends that work in the heart of downtown Manhattan and was terrified until I heard that they were okay. Luckily, everyone I knew ended up being safe, but was in complete shock over what had happened. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if I hadn’t been so lucky, but I’m sure that that it is similar to the way that Dr. Abuelaish is feeling. As much as I would have never wished for this to happen to Dr. Abuelaish, I hope that this makes people realize how killing the innocent really does no good in any situation. People need to take into consideration how they are ruining the lives of others and although at first it may seem beneficial to hurt your enemies because it will make you look stronger, they really need to take a step back and ask themselves what they are gaining from doing such a thing. Personally, I think that a country or an army who is ending the lives of harmless people are cowards and should feel ashamed that it makes them feel stronger and more powerful by doing so. It is sad to think that the story of Dr. Abuelaish is just one of the many, many stories that have resulted from war. Although we may not hear of them, I can’t even fathom the amount of people who have similar stories to tell about the death of their family members every single day. I know that war is inevitable and cannot say that it is completely unavoidable in certain situations but I wish that there were more civil ways to fight than killing innocent bystanders.

  • Anonymous says:

    I can’t even begin to imagine the pain that Dr. Abuelaish is experiencing. For a man who has dedicated his life to peace, it is horrible to see such a tragedy happen to a good man. Throughout his life he has set an example, not only for his children and family, but for all the people of Palestine and Israel who are in the midst of this war. Although he is only one man, he has shown all of these people that there can be peace between these countries. He has dedicated his life to helping others, regardless of who they are and what country they come from. He shows that we are all human, and killing innocent people is no justification for trying to find the enemy. He is a friend to Israelis and Palestinians and is a trusted face to all people involved in this war. His house was targeted and innocent members of his family were killed. If anything, Dr. Abuelaish’s family should be the symbol of peace during this conflict. Because of this tragedy, that withstanding symbol has been tarnished and gives innocent people little hope.
    During any wars or conflicts, the focus is on finding the enemy and taking over. We are focused on one goal and it is very difficult to step back and take a look at the big picture. But if we did this just for a second, it might give us a whole new perspective on what is going on. Often times we only see the pain and suffering of the people in our own country, or only on one side of the conflict. But maybe if we saw the faces and heard the stories of the other side, it would be easier to see how alike we all really are.
    The war in Iraq has been going on for far too long in my opinion. Innocent people get killed every day for no reason whatsoever. Millions of people have lost their lives or lost family members to this tragic war. We hear the stories all the time of American soldiers getting hurt or killed amidst the fighting. But what we don’t see are the war torn streets and innocent lives being taken. The images I love to see are those of American soldiers playing with Iraqi children and bringing food or other essentials to innocent people. These are the things that we need to see more of to show everyone that there are times of peace even during war.
    Even when fighting everyday battles, we lose a sense of how the rival will be affected. The next time we disrespect someone, or intentionally hurt another, maybe we should take a moment to see the other side.

  • Dewey says:

    There is no denying that the story of Dr. Abuelaish is touching and makes most people think about and feel bad for the thousands of people who are dying every day in wars around the world. The video makes one wonder why wars are ever fought and if any reason for fighting can truly be justifiable. In fact, it is very possible that soldiers who are currently fighting may become disinterested in their wars and change their mindset to one of peace after becoming more familiar and closer to the people whom they are fighting. While all of these aspects point towards peace around the world, the thought of it is the only thing that will ever happen. Even if soldiers knew everything about their enemies, war would still take place. A mindset of peace within every soldier would only be a thought and not an action.
    The concept of war dates back to thousands of years ago when empires and countries fought for control of land. Since the beginning, war has been strictly business, regardless of who is fighting. On Christmas during World War I, soldiers stopped fighting to celebrate the holiday and even shared the happiness with the people whom they were fighting with. After Christmas was over, the war started back up like nothing had happened the day before. In addition, throughout the Civil War, tons of soldiers from the North and South were fighting against their best friends and people they knew. Unfortunately, this did not change anything and there was no mercy for anybody.
    Even if enemies began to see each other as humans, nothing about war would change. Knowing the backgrounds and stories behind enemies does not change a soldier’s duty to fight for his or her country. It is only wishful thinking to say that wars would change and that we would be different if we knew more about our enemies. For all we know right now, the United States army could be training its soldiers so well so as to know about the background of the Iraqis or other country’s soldiers who we are fighting.
    So what if a solider knew a lot about the people who he or she was fighting and decided that he or she did not want to fight in a specific war, would this solider just go fight another war? Basically, this article relates war to a selection process where soldiers can say that they have sympathy for their enemies and not fight them, while picking and choosing when they want to fight.
    It is obvious that every solider has their own background and stories behind them that would make another person connect with them. Regrettably, this common thing shared amongst all soldiers will not change anything dealing with war.

  • Anonymous says:

    War can be a very sensitive topic to talk about. I personally don’t think that it is the most effective way to resolve a problem. But the truth of the matter is war will never completely disappear. When reading this blog, and watching the two videos on this Palestinian doctor whose family got murdered and injured by Israelis I was very saddened by this event. I believe that he was a man with a kind heart who had good intentions on change. He was trying to prove to others that even though they are “supposedly” enemies, the barrier could still be broken. In spite of the war going on between Palestine and Israeli, he still chose to become educated, reside, and work in Israel where usually people of his kind were unwelcomed. This was the first big step in breaking the barrier. He dared to be different and step out into the other territory which showed great courage. He was a prominent peacemaker and was well known amongst the Israelis. Witnessing the death of his family must have been a horrific and devastating experience. I know this wasn’t something he would have expected just based off the fact that he had so much creditability amongst the Israelis. I don’t know how I would have felt if I were in his shoes. I can’t imagine trying to go to a place where my people are not welcomed, attempt to make peace during this time of war, begin to progress in my mission and then my family gets killed. It just seems like a slap in the face on the Israelis’ part. In watching the videos, I could tell that this was a big issue after it happened. An event like this really opened up a window for outsiders to voice their opinions about the matter. Many viewers were just as shocked as he was and wanted answers from the Israeli soldiers. I really believe it was a lot of behind the scene hatred amongst some of the soldiers and jealousy which caused this trauma. The soldiers I believe were responsible just lied to cover up what they did. In every peace related movement in history, there was at least one or two people against it which caused a problem. One thing I respected was that although Dr. Abuelaish wasn’t upset, he didn’t resort to retaliation. He didn’t respond to an act of violence with violence. I know this is very hard to do but two wrongs won’t bring back his family or change the situation. I think that everyone can learn from this story. The story helped me to step back and think for a second about war in general and war amongst my peers. Life is too short as we can see from this story; we should be trying to make peace instead of war.

  • Anonymous says:

    Reading and listening to Dr. Abuelaish’s tragic, devastating story was truly painful. It is a terrible thing that our world has to resort to terror and violence to solve our issues. There have been far too many deaths and negatively life changing stories throughout this bloodshed of a war. It is a scary thought to be thinking of all the families who have loved ones fighting over in Iraq. It is like living through a nightmare for them every day. Will they every see their son, brother, grandson, or nephew again? Was that day they left our country to fight the very last precious moments they would ever spend with their loved ones?
    My family and I similarly live fearful every day thinking of our entire one side of the family that lives in Tel Aviv, Israel. My father grew up in Israel and was the only son who made a move and came to America later on in his life. The rest of his family still remain in his beautiful homeland. With this war that has been prolonging for so long we constantly worry about whether or not one day an enemy will decide to throw bombs around in the areas in which my family live. Growing up, I have made many, many visits to Israel which happens to be one of my favorite places in the entire world. It is amazing to me to learn how care-free everyone lives in that country. There is not as much stress and uptightness over little things like there is in the States. Everyone grows up to be extremely independent very quickly. At the age of ten my cousins were already taking public transportation by themselves. My family in Israel has told me time and time again that they don’t need to be living in fear. They decide to live their lives just as any other normal life. They don’t let the things going on with the war prevent them from going anywhere they need to go or doing anything they need to do. How will life ever go on if you don’t let it? I know when I go to Israel I never feel fearful. The fact that everyone is so close nit in that country and there is such a huge sense of community, it makes you feel very safe and comfortable. Although there have been so many scary, tragic stories such as Dr. Abuelaish’s, I believe everyone must live their lives as if there will always be a tomorrow, not matter what their living circumstances are. Living in fear every day of your life would just make life even more scary and miserable then it already might be. My heart goes out to Dr. Abuelaish and his family and every other family who has suffered through his same pain.

  • Winta Asmelash says:

    This is a tragedy moment for Dr. Abuelaish. I know this is something that no one can tolerate or bear. All my prayers go to Dr. Abuelaish. I can only imagine the pain he is feeling right now. It is already hard enough to witness death of the people that you know; having to bury your own children is the worst thing that can happen to any parent. To see him breakdown was definitely an emotional breakdown for me because I can relate to what him and his people are going through. Living in a place where there is always a war going on, being born and raised in Eritrea and the war with Ethiopia. This war between Gaza and Israel has taken the lives of many people. It has been going on ever since I can remember. I think it has reached its worst moments and there needs to be an end to it. Like Dr. Abuelaish said “let his daughters be the last price to be paid by citizens. This makes you think how many of this had happen to people from Israel or Palestine? I am pretty sure he is not the only parent that is going through this right now. I know there are a lot of parents that are feeling a lot of pain because of the losses of their children, people that’s in pain because they have lost their brothers and sisters or children that has lost their parents. I think it is time to change what is going on. Most Americans don’t really watch CNN so we are not well aware of what is happening in the Middle-east. This is something that happens a lot there are a lot of families that have been heartbroken. A lot of people blood has been spilled to the ground. I think it is time the government of Israel to do something about it or the UN to do something about it. This war is dangerous it is not just the troops fighting with each other but peaceful civilians cannot even go outside knowing they can make it back home. Civilians themselves need to get alone with each other. If they can feel the horrible pain they going through they should also realize that their enemy are feeling the same pain. Holding a resentment is not going to make their lives better. They should think about their future generation. They do not want their kids to experience the same thing as them. I know it is hard to think about the future when the present is the worst but this is something that has to come to an end or otherwise this is going to get worst and worst. I am sure people are tired of losing their love once.

  • Winta Asmelash says:

    This is a tragedy moment for Dr. Abuelaish. I know this is something that no one can tolerate or bear. All my prayers go to Dr. Abuelaish. I can only imagine the pain he is feeling right now. It is already hard enough to witness death of the people that you know; having to bury your own children is the worst thing that can happen to any parent. To see him breakdown was definitely an emotional breakdown for me because I can relate to what him and his people are going through. Living in a place where there is always a war going on, being born and raised in Eritrea and the war with Ethiopia. This war between Gaza and Israel has taken the lives of many people. It has been going on ever since I can remember. I think it has reached its worst moments and there needs to be an end to it. Like Dr. Abuelaish said “let his daughters be the last price to be paid by citizens. This makes you think how many of this had happen to people from Israel or Palestine? I am pretty sure he is not the only parent that is going through this right now. I know there are a lot of parents that are feeling a lot of pain because of the losses of their children, people that’s in pain because they have lost their brothers and sisters or children that has lost their parents. I think it is time to change what is going on. Most Americans don’t really watch CNN so we are not well aware of what is happening in the Middle-east. This is something that happens a lot there are a lot of families that have been heartbroken. A lot of people blood has been spilled to the ground. I think it is time the government of Israel to do something about it or the UN to do something about it. This war is dangerous it is not just the troops fighting with each other but peaceful civilians cannot even go outside knowing they can make it back home. Civilians themselves need to get alone with each other. If they can feel the horrible pain they going through they should also realize that their enemy are feeling the same pain. Holding a resentment is not going to make their lives better. They should think about their future generation. They do not want their kids to experience the same thing as them. I know it is hard to think about the future when the present is the worst but this is something that has to come to an end or otherwise this is going to get worst and worst. I am sure people are tired of losing their love once.

  • Anonymous says:

    If we all could see ourselves in each relationship and family that is lost and torn apart by war, war would no longer exist. Maybe not diminish completely, but most wars would not surface because they would no longer be as important as people once thought they were. When two people and/or countries discover they have a disagreement, war breaks out in an effort to support their belief. I believe that if everyone took the time to put themselves in the positions of the parents, siblings, husbands, wives, aunts, uncles etc. that are losing their loved ones the war that is going on between Iraq would finally be over. In addition, the shallow “wars” that people of different races or beliefs tend to have, would also become meaningless. Dr. Abuelaish is an Israeli that has lost his daughters and niece because of a bomb. After watching the video and hearing of his painful story, it is virtually impossible to not feel some type of remorse for him. Putting race and ethnic backgrounds aside, situations where one may lose the person that means the most to them are always saddening. After watching the video, I could not help but feel sorry for him. I could not be able to imagine what he must have been going through. Regardless of race, emotions are stagnant. If Dr. Abeulaish were white, or black, or even green, people would still feel the same remorse for his hardship because most likely others can relate to what it would be like to lose the person that meant the most to them.
    I think that if we took a step back and looked at the big picture of “war” it would almost seem pointless to kill anyone. Because “anyone” could be a mother, father, sister, brother or best friend. Therefore, it raises the notion if we all realized war was not worth it in the sense of killing those of loved ones, would war even exist? Everyone must be special to at least someone and would prove why war should be abolished all together. If we all could see the pain within that was caused when losing someone, I feel that other races and ethnic backgrounds would be more appreciative and respectful of one another. In reality, it would be refreshing and interesting to learn about other cultures even if they have different ideas or beliefs than one’s own. It’s sad that countless people are losing their lives because they are believed to be the “enemy.” Something to think about is, just as there are Americans that do not support the Iraq war, there are also Israeli’s that may not support the war. Therefore, no innocent lives should be spared in an effort to defeat the enemy.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow. …. . . It ‘s really sad that this is what it takes to open some of our eyes and realize that we all share the same pain and sorrows in this world. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s loss is absolutely tragic and I cannot even imagine beginning to think about the pain he is going through.
    This idea that we only share the same sadness when we see a familiar face being hurt is a disgrace; yet, unfortunately very true. I think that in some sense, this country through its societal pressure, mimics celebrities in their style, weight and their actions and we as a country look up to these people. Therefore, it is in our culture to feel the pain of a familiar face. Yes, it is absolutely disheartening to know however articles such as this are making us realize the reality through the blindfold we try to hide behind.
    What I am trying to emphasize is that I feel it takes a tragic event like this for our country to feel sorrow and relate to another country because we are so use to looking up to familiar faces. Let’s face it, on average; most of us want that “perfect body” like Gisele or Adriana Lima, or maybe Brad Pitt (guys). We mimic their trends and diets to be like them. Thus, if something were to happen to them or their family we would feel their grief as well. We are accustomed to looking up to these people. I think this is why it takes a familiar face for us to feel related to a situation.
    I feel if we took this situation and applied it to the war in Iraq, lets just say maybe we would no longer be in war with Iraq. I read this blog and watched the videos and even made a comment to my roommates of how much violence is going on and what if this happened to anyone of us. We never think about this stuff. It was funny because my one roommate even replied with “Let’s just not think about it”. I think that simple phrase says a lot about this country. Yes, let’s just not think about the war or the fact that people are dying and losing family members. Why is it ok not to think about when it isn’t happening to us? But as soon as it happens to us personally or someone we know, we feel grief. Why does it take a soldier actually experiencing the war to have a better outlook on the situation than we do? We live in the dark. As a society we are so caught up in what everyone else is doing that we don’t realize how much we have in common. It really takes the courage and realization to be able to step back and look that we really aren’t “better” or “different” than anyone else in the world.

  • Anonymous says:

    If we take away the personal connection we have with another human being, it becomes much easier to ignore the fact that this other person or persons have so much in common with us. This is often done in war, as well as in other situations where two humans, so alike in so many ways, are pitted against each other, either voluntarily such as in a personal conflict, on involuntarily as in war when they are sent by their government to carry out a mission or objective.
    While we do have so much in common as a species (family structure, emotions, and general physical characteristics) it is the psychological differences which generally drive us to “hate” each other and fuel conflicts where two people are fighting or killing each other. We do not necessarily fight for the same reasons that animals fight, such as for mating rights or for territory or for food. We fight over complex things, one of the oldest being religion and differing perspectives on religion.
    This battle over religion is where the fighting that killed Dr. Abuelaish’s daughters and neice stems from. The Palestinians and the Israelis are fighting a battle because one believes the other is harboring criminals who are killing others in the name of their supreme being. It was unclear in the article why Dr. Abuelaish’s house was targeted by Israeli forces when he was a known ally to both sides of the conflict. Perhaps Israel wanted to make an example out of him, saying “we will kill our friends and comrades without second thought, so imagine what we will do to you if you do not stop harboring Hamas terrorists.” Whatever the reasoning behind killing these innocent women, we see the ignorance for another human life, and how easily someone can take another life without thinking about the implications that are had from that killing on all the family, friends and people who wittiness the act. If the soldiers who killed these girls saw their faces, and knew their father and uncle, and witnessed the aftermath of their killing, I imagine it would have been much harder for them to ever follow through on this command. The face that wars are able to be executed from a distance makes it easier to ignore the human connection that we all share.
    I imagine that centuries ago, before guns were invented, when hand to hand combat was the only main form of fighting, soldiers and fighters did not have the impersonal and disconnected sense that many people today do. We hear stories about the American Civil War in which soldiers from both the North and the South would congregate at night and talk to each other from the trenches or even share a drink and a card game at night, and when morning came they went back to killing each other. I imagine it was much more taxing on the individual soldiers then who killed each other than it was on the soldiers who killed Dr. Abuelaish’s girls. The reaction is still the same though. No matter which side of the line you are on, if someone is killed, their family still goes through the same grieving, the dreams of that person, everything that they meant to anyone else in the world is now gone. Seeing this story brought that point to light, death is death, and it is mourned the same way everyway and the aftermath is the same on the same people, no matter who did the killing or what the cause was for, the end result is the same.

  • Julie Ressalam says:

    Wow. I was moved to tears by Dr. Abuelaish’s story. To lose not one, but three daughters and a niece in one night is the stuff that parent’s nightmares are made of. A man of peace who had never done anything to provoke a whole army, did not deserve for that to happen to him. Especially in the safety of his own home. The Israeli army did not even have a legitimate answer for the bombings!
    Dr. Abuelaish is a friend to both the Palestinian people and Israeli people, and yet he was targeted. He saw them both as human, and treated both as patients in his hospital. Is that why he was seen as a target by the Israeli army? Because he is a beacon of peace and works towards that goal? Because he is the epitome what Palestinians and Israelis need to work towards? Watching that video of him and his seriously wounded daughter in the hospital was heartbreaking. If we saw the mothers and fathers of Iraqis holding their children and crying grief-stricken tears we would definitely feel differently about this war. There is a sort of disconnection when the other side of a war is a faceless body of people. You cannot really feel for them or know how they themselves are feeling. By adding both names and faces to a group of suffering people makes a world of difference. You can see with your own eyes that they are hurting and that the violence around them affects us too. It affects us because they are human beings just as we are and with the same emotions, and what if we were that mother or father? What if we were in Dr. Abuelaish’s shoes, we would be just as heartbroken as he is.
    Human emotion is universal and it is something that everyone can relate to. When we see videos or hear stories like Dr. Abuelaish’s, we can’t help but think, what if that happened to someone I knew? We think of our families and friends and seeing them in a situations like that, and our hearts go out to Abuelaish. You’re right, this isn’t just about Israelis or Palestinians. This is about each one of us bridging that gap between faceless violence and the real heartbreaking stories behind those horrors. We may hear about a bombing in Iraq, but how many of us really think about that bombing? How many of us really think about the fathers and mothers that died in the bombing? Instead of seeing targets and statistics, we should start seeing each other as friends in humanity. We all suffer and if we can help one another through compassion and empathy, that is a step closer to a better world.

  • Tiffany says:

    People never really take the time to think about how some one else feels about a situation or try and put them selves in some one else’s shoes because that would require them to not think just about them selves. It would require people to stop being selfish to stop only thinking of them selves. They would have to try and relate or understand some one else’s feelings and situation. I think if people actually applied certain things into their own wars it would be a lot different and there would be a lot less conflict in the world. There wouldn’t be so many people consumed in them selves and their own selfishness. More people would think of others before them selves and before starting a “war” or a conflict. If people thought about others first then there wouldn’t be so much war in the world and there would be such a thing as peace reached in the world. But I feel like people don’t think of others and only think of them selves before any one else is because they don’t want to actually have to feel something. No one wants to really feel pain or any real emotions because it is so much easier to just not feel anything at all. It’s a lot easier for some one to only think about them selves and the fact that they are not actually feeling any real pain or any real emotions. With people only thinking about them selves and being selfish they don’t have to feel anything and realize what is actually going on in the world around them or in their surroundings. This is not something new with people it’s been going on for a very long time it’s the reason why things like the Holocaust happened. If people stopped being so consumed in them selves and actually learned to feel something for some one else there wouldn’t be so many wars in our world or so many people being killed and hurt because some one else hates or dislikes some one. If people took the time to put them selves in the shoes of some one they don’t like the world would be a completely different place. People would actually know how to feel something for some one besides them selves and there wouldn’t be so much war or people dying in our world. Each individual person should really start to think about conflicts they start and try and figure out how the other person feels and what they are going through or what emotions they are trying to cope with. If people took the time to see how or feel how others felt then we could actually reach some peace in the world.

  • Erika Moore says:

    I think that what Dr. Abuelaish has gone through is sad, especially since he was an ally to the Israelis as well as a prominent figure amongst Israelis and Palestinians. This incident shows that no one is safe, and we could all fall victims no matter how nice a person is. I think that people get so caught up in the big picture that they look over or forget about the little things like morality. Had the troops done their jobs right and found out where the shots were truly fired from, then Dr. Abuelaish’s family would not have been killed. The whole Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been going on for a very long time yet they still have not put aside their differences. One lesson adults are always trying to teach students is, to solve their problems or whatever differences they may have, without fighting. I think this is hypocritical because they are doing exactly what they tell us not to do on a much larger scale, and many innocent people are being harmed and even killed because of it. For Dr. Abuelaish to actually witness his daughters being murdered is horrible. The question is will this act of violence? I don’t think it will change anything. The fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been going on for so long, I think that it is something that will always exist in some form. But through this situation could it open our eyes to the war in Iraq. Dr. Abuelaish is a person who has dedicated his life to helping solve this ongoing problem. He has even made peace with Israelis, yet for them to perform this act is like a slap in the face.

    I noticed that in the second interview he stated “I hope that my children will be the last price. And that they will be satisfied with this. And that they will stop.” Here is a man who has lost three of his daughters and a niece, and he took this and used it as a force to his dedication for them to stop fighting. He never sounded bitter or revengeful; he just wants them to stop even if it took his own children’s life for them to do so. I think that these actions are so big of him and they show how much he is dedicated for them to stop fighting. With the Iraqi war, we have no clue what the soldiers are out there doing. But I am sure that they are committing these same acts. We rarely hear about it but it doesn’t change the fact that it is happening. I think as a people we have become so immune to bad things because we hear them so often. But hearing Dr. Abuelaish call into the news station was enough to bring emotion back. Maybe we need that in order to take action, we need to hear and see that raw emotion in order to act.

  • Anonymous says:

    The whole concept of war is a touchy subject. The reason we don’t see the faces of the people who are hurting because of the war is because Americans can’t handle that. All in all, there are some things that just need to be done. If there is a terrorist and the only way the military can effectively stop his act of terrorism is to kill him, but also in turn kill others, then the military is just going to make that sacrifice. It’s a terrible situation for them to be in. If the media reported that they let the terrorist go, half the country would complain. If they kill the terrorist and harm the innocent bystanders, the other half of the country will complain. And all in all, if we just kill the terrorist, yeah half the country is complaining, but at least that terrorist isn’t a concern anymore. So yeah, the military has to do it. So what if we did start putting the stories of the now dead terrorist or his family in US media? Everyone would freak out. The person who carried out the mission to kill the terrorist would not be a hero. He would be a monster. And of course we could all just put ourselves in each other’s shoes all the time all over the world and watch CNN clips about the families of the people we harm, and in theory everyone would just stop being evil. NOT. In reality, some people are evil. Many of the people that our military is battling in this world will not be stopped if Americans try to build alliances. There is no such thing as alliances with some of these people. These are corrupt, powerful, and persuasive people who are determined to hate the western way. If you ask their six-year-old children what they want to do, they want to kill Americans. We can think about the war and try to change how Americans view the concept of war in general, but it certainly isn’t going to make a lot of our bigger problems any better. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want a war any more than anyone else. I have a boyfriend in the Navy who leaves for months at a time to go on tours to defend the country. War makes me rather sick. However, I just can’t stomach the idea that there will be any kind of benefit from viewing war differently. It’s pure ideology. If anything, knowing about the families of the victims of war will make Americans full of conflict and anger. Sometimes it’s best just to turn your head when you aren’t in control of a situation. And yes, one could argue that we could take control and end the war. But the people who hate us are still going to hate us, and when you’re dealing with people like that, there really isn’t a different way out.

  • Jeremy W says:

    The topic of war always disparages me. Being in a country that believes in peace and freedom makes it a contradiction when we fight. The situation with Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is absolutely heart breaking. A person who completely dedicates his life and advocates for tranquility and helping others with medical needs as a doctor doesn’t deserve the outcome that he experienced. He was a Palestinian doctor who worked with Israeli television; that in and of itself was evidence of his desire of unity. He lived in Gaza, which is a Palestinian city. He was considered to be one of the few people to help the violent conflict between the Israelis and the Palestine’s. After all of this sacrifice, he finds out his three children were killed in a bombing? Is that the thanks, the gratefulness, the payback? I’m not quite sure of the origin of this altercation but they’re adjacent proximity and similar religion and cultural practices should theoretically bring a close comradery between the two groups. I think this could honestly be parallel to the discrimination occurring within the black race of its own. There’s so many clicks and groups divided by acceptance. Color and tone is a big category of bias. In the African American culture, being light is beautiful. The lighter you are, that’s when you look the most appealing. Being too dark is unacceptable. It’s usually related to being of indigenous African descent and the history behind it all; slavery. The ones who were out in the fields picking cotton were the darker blacks while the ones working in the house were lighter and doing more of the household chores. So the more inferior shade came to be the darker. Then hair textures come into effect. Having “kinky” hair is considered to be ugly and a sign of dirtiness. A lot of times so many black women, especially, will conform to society’s perspective on beauty and try to straighten and perm their hair. Who derived the fact that the natural texture of black people’s hair is “nappy” or unpretty? So now within our own race, it’s seen that sporting an afro is weird when actually it’s embracing who you are. But this factor goes within every race and they’re judgments casted everywhere. It’s an inevitable barrier, especially with Arabs or others with Islamic heritage. Ever since 9/11, they’ve been alienated throughout the nation simply because of the image of Osama Bin Laden. It’s not fair that they are mistreated for their culture and relating it to one event that individuals and families had nothing to do with. In conclusion, I feel that this event is a strong but relevant representation of selfish and racial rivalry that still exists today.

  • sinead o'connor says:

    Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is just who Israel and Palestine need right now. Although his situation is a terrible one, it is one that both nations can relate to. I thought that CNN did an excellent on reporting this story. I loved how they described Dr. Abuelaish as a “face of Gaza Israelis can relate to” and how his losses “touched a raw nerve” and were able to “expose [Israel] to the suffering of its neighbors.” While both countries have been suffering for many weeks now, both were blind to the other’s pain. However close they are in distance, it is obvious that these two countries are miles away from any sympathy for one another. Although it is rather unfortunate for Dr. Abuelish, the loss of three of his daughters and one niece might just bring about the first steps to bringing Israel and Palestine to peace. Even before the deaths of his family members, his story was an unusual one: an Israeli doctor living and working in Gaza, yet still a friend to the Palestinians. His unique position already made him a figure to look up to, even before his terrible losses.
    As for applying Dr. Abuelaish’s story to our own wars, I believe this is an excellent idea, and it is one that can go beyond just war. Take genocide for example. Genocide is made possible by simply creating a dangerous outsider and not giving them any links or overlapping characteristics to the familiar people. By making them so foreign or inhuman it is not so hard to dispose of them. But put a face to the outsider’s suffering, especially a face such as Dr. Abuelaish’s, who has ties to both sides of the suffering, and suddenly it is not as easy to justify the killing. Instead of some random stranger this can easily be a cousin or a coworker. Distance is the worst enemy in any conflict, and I am not just talking about miles and kilometers. The moment you distance yourself from another human being some problem will almost always arise. The moment that you begin to think you are right and they are wrong or that you are better and they are of a lesser value, major conflict will arise. Had we taken this into account I believe our Iraq war would be very different. Realizing that not everyone is the same, and that just because we are different no one culture or society is right or wrong can be the first steps to creating a lasting peace. This is exactly what I hope Dr. Abuelaish’s story does for the people of both Palestine and Israel. His losses are ones that can be recognized by both of these nations.

  • brielle says:

    How much is too much? How far is too far? When is enough finally ENOUGH? I could never imagine having to watch people that I love die in front of me, especially my own children. How much more pain is going to brought to people because we are not able to see other people as human. The attacks of September 11th really hit home for me, and I watched my father stare into the TV as they announced names of people he worked with in the NYPD. When are we finally going to let go of all the anger in this world, and try to work towards a more peaceful environment? The roots of hatred have been grown so deep that it is going to take forever to finally repair the damage, but it is not a good enough reason for people like Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish to have to suffer the way he has.
    There is so much suffering going on in the world, and innocent people are suffering. Children are dying because we as a people are unable to step back from a situation and think clearly through a problem, rather than targeting people who shouldn’t be targeted. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is fighting for peace and has to watch three of his daughters die. How FAR is too FAR? How much more pain do people have to feel before we realize that we are all human? The Palestine/Israeli crisis is a situation that will take so long to work through, and every day people are suffering because of it. When do we as a people finally take a stand against violence and try to find a more peaceful way to solve our disagreements? Children are dying, women are burying their husbands, and we are watching it all happen. There are not enough people in the world like Dr. Izzeldin who sees a person as a human being rather than someone different. He is a man striving for peace between the two countries, and instead is the one to suffer. How does that make any sense?
    We are all human. We have loved ones. We all are the same. We might have different skin colors and we might have different beliefs, but that does not mean we should be fighting each other and allowing innocent people to die. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s story truly broke my heart. This man lives his life trying to break down the barrier between the two countries and in turns loses the people closest to him because of the disagreements between the countries. Life may not be fair, but this is truly a travesty. When will we finally live in a world where we can see past our differences and work through our disagreements in a more peaceful manner? I hope that day will come soon because the longer we wait, the more people like Dr. Izzeldin will suffer such great tragedies.

  • Anonymous says:

    This war has been very tragic and many people have lost loved ones. I do believe that once you know the story behind the many faces that we are fighting against, it hurts even more. Knowing more about the people that are being hurt, makes them seem more like ourselves. They are not just animals running around with guns they are fighting for their country just like American soldiers are fighting for us. I personally do not have someone close to me fighting over in Iraq, but I do have a close friend whose father is leaving this weekend for another year over seas. It’s just so sad to see people who really are just like ourselves, who are children, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, friends or cousins dieing or being attacked. I would hope that if we knew each and every person personally we wouldn’t fight them, we would feel compassion for them, because killing that person you are killing all of their loved ones. Personally I feel like a war is hardly going on because lately we have only been focused on Obama coming in to office and because no one especially close to me is over there I don’t think about the war much. Though I know I should because there are men from our country a part of this war. I would just like to hope that some day the world will understand the value of life and how killing one person is hurting many others who are close to them. People of all races have one thing in common that they all want safety and security, but the world is full of war. Also maybe if people saw the stories and the lives behind the many different ethnicities and races they would stop seeing just a color. Maybe the reason so many people are still racist is because they only see color they don’t see human beings and the stories behind all the faces and all the colors. The soldiers fighting any war are just human beings fighting for their countries and fighting for their families and loved ones. Unfortunately I know what it feels like to loose a loved one and I feel for Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. I also feel that wars have a lot to do with politics and I don’t care much for politics. People always feel like they need to defend their countries, when why should it be citizens putting their life on the line, when it’s the politicians creating all the problems. Shouldn’t they be the ones fighting their own battles instead of letting innocent people like the Abuelaish family and other civilians dieing because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. War is a struggle for power, it’s sad, but unfortunately will probably never go away.

  • shekoufeh says:

    The journey of Dr. Abuelaish’s life is by far the most devastating story I have heard. How could anyone possibly be able to resist witnessing the death of his three daughters and a niece in one day and watch his other daughter struggle to survive? Is this really fair? Is this the meaning of life? The main question in my head is always about the things that must be changed in order to survive this life? Even Dr. Abuelaish who has committed his life to save other human beings and has worked for peace throughout his living is facing one of the biggest tragedies of his personal life. This makes me doubt certain things about this life and why he, who is a good part of this life, must go through this tragedy. This is not really about the war…it is about people’s personal issues…It is all politics and the majority of these innocent citizens are paying for it. Everyday people are losing their loved ones in process of this non meaningful peace that others are reaching for. A good example would be the Iraq war. God knows how many people have died and struggled to live in order to bring peace to the world. We will never have peace in this world if we keep doing and thinking the way we currently are. We always must treat others as we would like to treated, so how would it be possible to kill others if we didn’t see them as less human than us? If everyone put themselves in the situations that the people of war are facing such as death, loss of loved ones and homes…no one could kill anyone. If we put ourselves in their position and actually live the way they are living, life would lose its meaning. I am sure that there must be a way to change all this for a more peaceful life where others do not have to die for the rest of us to have peace and freedom. This politics that makes no sense for the most part has ruined the life of many innocent individuals and will be like this for decades from now if we don’t stop it. Why do these people who are actually reaching for peace and are the cure of this world have to go through this? Is this a revenge for the death of other? This is the story of all of us, if we really think about it. Everyone’s live connects to each other at one point. I believe if we could sense and share the amount of pain that these Palestinian citizens, Israeli, and Iraqis have gone through for the past years, there would be no war and people would have begun to create more peace among them.

  • Anonymous says:

    First off I would like to extend my extreme condolences to Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish and his family for their tragic loses. No one, parent, child, etc. should have to witness the loss of a loved one at any given point in their life. With that being said, death is a part of the human life cycle. We cannot expect to keep our loved ones with us physically, in person, forever. We must say goodbye to them and keep them in our thoughts and in our prayers. However, the way that Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish lost his family is extremely heart wrenching. I do not feel that Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish and his family were targeted. I think that it was just a very unfortunate event that occurred at a wrong moment. Once again I express extreme sorrow for him and his family and hope that they can recover from this in a timely manner.
    Wars, and its reasons, are very much a big issue in the world and one that will not be solved easily. My only objection to not having wars is that our country, the United States of America, was founded solely on the act of war against the British. Yes, there was a mass genocide of Native Americans, I cannot explain the reason for this, but when it is laid out, our country is a free country because of the wars we fought and the lives we lost.
    With regard to the war in Iraq, I would be heartbroken if one of my family members was killed over there fighting this war of, what seems like, no end. Being in a family with no close military background, i.e. parents and grandparents did not fight in a war; I do not know the feeling that comes with the death of a soldier. I have extreme respect for our soldiers and troops protecting our national boundaries and keeping our nation safe and free. I realize that these troops have a family somewhere and should return home to them safely. I can only sympathize with all of the families, in the world, who have lost loved ones to acts of war and hatred.
    I cannot honestly think what it would be like to murder someone or something. Even hunting disturbs me a bit. Now I know the entire argument about the food cycle, but in my personal views it is still gruesome. As for murdering a human being, I cannot even begin to describe the horrors that would follow. I would envision that person’s face in my dreams for many years to come. I just do not see the positive side about killing another person.
    Asking for a world without war is unreasonable. The idea that war=power has been imprinted in the minds of many citizens across the entire planet. I have no solution to ending war, but can only pray that it could be terminated after some time.

  • Anonymous says:

    I can’t imagine losing one child, let alone losing three at once (AND a niece). My immediate reaction while watching the first clip was sadness. Not only did this guy lose three children and his niece but he lost them because of the violence and war that is happening. Their lives could have easily been saved. It is a terrible tragedy and I cannot imagine what he is going through. My grandmother lost two children early in their life to leukemia at two different times and I know it has severely impacted her life in many ways. I see the tragedy and depression and many effects that this has had on her and the rest of my family and I know that it sure is not easy. But, this doctor’s loss is even greater and comes all at once. It is just unfathomable to understand the kind of suffering the doctor is going through. One day you have your family and the next three of your daughters and niece are gone.
    I understand that there are reasons for war. I do not necessarily agree with war, but I support our troops. I understand that at this point, these are the steps that are being taken to try to solve something. I wish that there was a way that we could all just get along and that war did not cause the tragedy that it does to so many people every day. It is so scary to imagine everything and hear everything that is going on. When I was a little kid, I remember learning about war in school and hearing all the bad things about war. I would cry to my mother because I never wanted to live during a war because I was that afraid. Today, I am living through a war and although I experience the impact of it, I do not really fully experience what I imagined as a little kid because I am not there first hand seeing all that is happening. I am not watching car bombs right outside my house or waking up one morning to seeing my daughter die. But, other people are and that is the problem.
    I wish that we could find the compassion for the other countries we are fighting. I wish that we would realize that they are the same as us and that when we are killing someone we are killing someone else’s daughter, someone else’s mother, someone else’s father, etc.
    It is horrible to think that it takes seeing the “the face of friend” to “open hearts so that enemies begin to see one another as humans.” I wish that we could all unite and be better people so that our world could grow in peace.

  • Anonymous says:

    What in heaven’s name is this world coming to? How many innocent unsuspectiing people must be killed before we realize that violence is not the answer. Imagine a man like Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish who has worked to promote peace during his lifetime is suddenly faced with the reality that three of his precious daughters and his niece have been killed. How do we expect him to behave or even how do we expect others like him to behave in this emotional state. Will the people of Gaza want to avenge these deaths? Will Israel realize that this has gone too far? Will there ever be peace amongst these people or this will just be a continuous cycle of “an eye for an eye?”

  • Anonymous says:

    I think that wars would change and the outcomes would be different if everyone saw everybody else as a human being. Maybe if people cared about other people and their families and realize that they are suffering too, then the world would be different. I think the reason that people do not care is because they have to do their job or they feel obligated to do it, not just for their families but for their country. Also if people actually cared then some of the terrorists might still be alive.

  • Anonymous says:

    Before I read this blog, I have never heard of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish and I have no idea who he is. But after watching 2 clips with my tears running down my cheek and read more articles about him, I was shocked and sad at the same time. This is the big deal. People just haven’t realized this because it doesn’t seem real to them. But when it comes to people who they can relate to, especially in this case, they watched this happening live on TV, many people can feel Dr. Abuelaish’s pain and start to wonder why are we keep killing each other and innocent civilians? Finally, Israeli started to think about the killing of more than 1,200 Palestinians and questioned that humans use civilian as human shields.
    I started to think why people use violence as an answer. There are many other ways we can try and negotiate with each other. Why don’t we try to make peace with each other? If they killed us first, killed them back is not an answer. It will only kill more and more people. Iraqis are just human like us. I never agree with US war in Iraq, as an outsider, so I couldn’t really say much. From reading other people’s comments on this blog entry even surprised me more. There are people who still believe that war with Iraq is the best way for US. But is it really? This is not just about killing each other, it is so much more than that. I agree with professor Richards that “how would it be possible to kill others if we didn’t see them as less human than us?” It is hard to imagine Iraqi’s pain if you don’t have any connection with them, but I see them just as equal as us. I see them as a human trying to survive from the war.
    I strongly believe that all war is unjust. In war, soldiers kill people who have done them and their nation no harm and they are killed in turn by soldiers on the opposite side of the conflict. Noncombatants, including children, die in war, even if every effort is made to avoid killing them. Mistakes are made, and people die. I think that if we all truly want to stop war, we can. We always heard the phrase everyone can make a different, but we haven’t made any different because we haven’t start. And again, all this war wouldn’t happen if we don’t see different between each other. I learned so much more about races in this class. I realized that people judge each other by appearance and look. Right after 911, anyone who look like he or she is from middle east thought to be terrorist although they might be a U.S. Citizen. Like I said on my previous comment, when people start to see no different in each other, that’s when we can all live peacefully without worry about races.

  • Mallory Liebhaber says:

    As Americans, we do not know war; war is a battle fought on foreign soil, with foreign enemies, and foreign civilian causalities. I think that war is a very peculiar aspect of our world today, and it is difficult to explain to people living in the United States. A majority of the people living here today have never experienced war first hand, only through the likes of television, radio, newspapers and other mediums and of us have ever experienced a war on our own homefront, yet I’m sure if we did, we would have a whole new outlook on it.

    Personally, I think war is ridiculous and proves nothing except who can get the most money, to supply the most weapons and who can kill the most people. To me, this solves absolutely nothing. I was brought up learning that if you have a problem with someone, fighting is not the answer; you need to talk to that person and tell them what the problem is. I know that this may sound naïve, or unrealistic, but I think that if we had better “talking” relations with our “enemies” than a lot of this war could have been eradicated. Bombing and shooting people serves no purpose in our society, the pain and grief that it causes to people that have no ties or relations to the enemies is unforgiving. I think that if our government would take a stance and stop the fighting and start the talking, we would not only be out of this war, but I would also dare to assume that our economy would not be doing as poorly as it is today.

    I think that the only way that Americans would be able to see and feel the pain of the innocent’s suffering during wartime would be to actually experience it themselves, which I hope would never have to happen here. If war were being fought in our backyard, instead of overseas, it would be a totally different story. I think that the sad truth of this is that we, as Americans, have really lost our sense of imagination. Not that we would want to dream about losing someone we care about during a war, but I believe that it all relates back to our nation of instant gratification. We need to be shown things on the news the moment they happen, we need to pick up our food from a drive-thru so we can eat it right then and there, if there is a line we bitch and moan. If our nation would just slow down as a whole, I think we would really be able to see the bigger picture.

    Not only as a person, or as an American, but also as a Jew I grieve for everyone who has been going through the horrific ordeal in Israel. I pray for peace, and hope that these two enemies can reach an agreement that will stop the fighting, and start the living.

  • Anonymous says:

    War is getting less personal. Not only are governments telling the public less about what is going on, but sometimes even the soldiers don’t know what is happening. Now a days people can sit in their living room and go switch back and fourth between ‘The Simpsons” and the war in Iraq. You can even take your pick on what channel you would like to watch it on. This brings me to my next point. The media had an overwhelming responsibility to the public about what they show and say on TV. They have to understand the fact that most people are going to accept it as true. I have a friend who has a father in Iraq, he says the media completely smears what is going on there. Now turning to the Gaza conflict, not only is the doctor an amazing hero and beacon for peace, but so is the newscaster who picked up his phone. His simple but righteous act brought the bombs, bloodshed, and bodies into the living rooms of everyone watching. People immediately could understand the destruction that their military is causing. I am not saying that Israel didn’t have reason to enter Gaza, because they did. When you are dealing with terrorists, I think you just can’t play their game. As a better people, we have to show responsibility to in innocent people. If we don’t, we are just like them, killing innocent people. Now back to the media thing, I really think that legislature has to be passed about what they report. Some pricks in an office somewhere shouldn’t be deciding what they want America to believe. They have way to much power, power the rivals the governments. And you can’t make the defense that “well you don’t have to believe everything they say.” Well how the hell am I going to figure out what is going on. I know this is lofty thinking, but what the hell. And it is so visible, flicking back between Fox news and NBC is laughable. Whoever is deciding what to air is just picking the parts to prove themselves right to justify the size of their own tiny dick. I think that media people should have to take an oath, just like doctors take the Hippocratic oath before they are allowed to practice medicine. With a media position comes power, knowledge, and influence, they should not be allowed to tells us whatever they want, I just want the truth. And how about a few nice stories, help me believe that there are good things going on in this world every once in a while. I am from Baltimore, and I have no desire to watch the local news, because all you here about it the three latest teen shootings in the city, I might flick it on at the end to catch the fluff piece.

  • Anonymous says:

    We live in a world where war is not an uncommon thing. To turn on the news and hear reporters talking of fighting between two nations is a relatively normal thing for us to witness at this point. Our nation’s wars have been taught to us from an early age and while it is important to know of our country’s history, there is no subject teaching that war between two sides is not that way to handle a dispute. To think that in order for one side to get what they want out of a conflict, innocent people must die in battle seems absurd. Granted, we have gotten to a point in the world where if that was not the solution, even more destruction could occur. If one side was to be the example and not fight back, would that make a difference? Would that pave the way for future generations to follow? But then who wants to be that first nation that sits and takes the blows instead of fighting and possibly ending the battle sooner rather than later. But isn’t that what we have been taught growing up? If someone is making fun of us or being mean, we are to ignore it because when we don’t respond they will eventually get bored and stop. Does the same apply to nations of millions of people? Can a whole nation ignore another nation as to avoid war? I have no idea.
    The story of this Doctor is a powerful one. Both sides know him and the horrible thing he witnessed and they feel compassion. Could this be a solution to the hate in our world? I think that it is safe to say that when we know a person’s personal story and have an idea of who and what they are as a person, we are slower to judge to them. When we know little about a person or a situation, we are quick to create their own stories and judge on things we have no idea about. If we were to learn of others before placing judgment, peace may slowly bloom in places we least expected. If we could start by spreading this among children at a young age, in schools, the world could slowly being to change. As I am studying to become a teacher, I am learning about new ways of speaking to children in classrooms that leaves out negativity and competition. Feelings are shared and respected and absolutely no judgment is placed on anyone. If people could adopt this mindset a peaceful movement could begin to spread and who knows what changes would take place. By nature, I believe that we are compassionate and loving people, but as we grow up we are tainted by the hate and judgment that is all around us. If only we could learn to respect one another’s differences and live without placing judgment, what a different world this would be.

  • el viejo maurel says:

    You know, that is perhaps the question that comes up in my mind whenever I think of a human conflict of any type. What if we knew each other?

    I mean, past the history, the associations, the opinions, the commentary. What if we really knew each other?

  • Anonymous says:

    I truly feel for Dr. Abuelaish. To lose your family is one thing, but to lose 3 daughters, a niece and a wife to the same conflict is catastrophic. Not only that, but because he is a Palestinian working in an Israeli hospital he is bombarded by news services requesting his reaction from loosing cherished family members. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been going on for quite some time and an end does not appear imminent. Through this whole news story I feel that some core human emotions were touched. If you are an Israeli who was involved with bombing this poor doctor’s house or just an Israeli in general you have to feel guilty for this man who has done nothing but preach reconciliation between two warring nations. The quote that really reached to me was the fact that the Dr. Abuelaish commented that he hopes the loss of his three daughters is the last deaths that have to occur in this conflict. This story really brings human emotion and feelings into the forefront of this conflict. Many times news services only report what was attacked and who was bombed and how many people died. But, rarely do news services touch on the human emotions as much as this story did. I can admit that when I see news stories about any war I just see it as somewhat normal. I never actually put myself in the shoes of the living people who are affected by the deaths that are being reported on the news. I must admit that doing that for this story was very eye-opening. Many religious practices preach the golden rule of treating others the way you want to be treated. Putting myself in Dr. Abuelaish’s shoes, I’m not sure that I could be as calm and collected and preaching peace between both sides. I would be filled with so much hatred for the opposition who caused so much harm to my family. It was also refreshing to see Dr. Abuelaish’s colleagues being so supportive in the fact that this Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs to come to an end. Thinking about the US’s war with Iraq I never thought about how our troops are doing the same thing when it comes to bombing innocent civilians. Thinking about how Iraqi civilians are being killed solely because our two countries are at war is sickening. I feel that those who are put in the decision making positions need to show more compassion. How did the US react when 9/11 occurred? While none of our attacks are on that large of scale on other country’s civilians, we still are killing civilians. If everyone could see life through the eyes of the father who just survived a plane crash to hug his 5 year old daughter again, I feel that humans as a whole would be better off.

  • corbin says:

    I feel that at the heart of all the atrocities one person imposes on another pride can be found. Where does the ability to declare one person subhuman come from? Where does it originate? Why are we capable of such things? I believe the answer lies in an individuals self-conceited pride. A selfish pride which allows us to put others below us and consequently putting ourselves above them. We are programmed to be selfish beings, our entire world is constructed in a way that we can achieve massive material wealth without ever needing to rely on someone else. There are certainly many factors involved when it comes to this issue of pride which could be culture, fanatical religious institutions, upbringing, or whatever. But I do think that whatever has caused this pride, it is pride which gives us the ability to physically see another human being but not actually see him or her. If our world were completely absent of this selfish pride things would certainly be much different. War would be rare and our daily interactions with others would probably be more pleasant and constructive. All types of discrimination would disappear overnight. Women could get piss drunk and naked and pass out on the couch of some fraternity and the worse things she would have to be concerned about is being sharpied. Our lives would be full of grace for one another and we would take the time to thank our janitors and trash collectors and not just our doctors and dentists. We would not only stop purchasing clothes made by sweatshop workers but we would travel to these countries and show them love. Dictators and tyrants would tremble at the thought of such an idea, the idea that other people around the world actually care enough to do something. People would be greatly involved in their governments and the wealthy would gladly share with those less fortunate and the poor rejoice at such generous acts. If the everyone viewed everyone as equal a bizarre love should sweep our world and for probably the first time in history, peace would be enjoyed. However, to hope for such things is a dream that few people have dared reach, but it is those few people who give us such wonderful hope for humanity, people like Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Ghandi, and Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. It would be an amazing thing if we could all have the tremendous amount of love that these people display for their fellow man, friend or enemy. I don’t believe that our world will ever see such love, at least not in my life time, but perhaps in time we will. My hope is that we start small with our daily interactions with one another and through that something larger might emerge.

  • Beth K says:

    When two nations are at war, it makes sense to de-humanize the enemy. When you de-humanize the enemy, the pain isn’t as deep when you kill. When the enemy is viewed as an animal, guilt and shame do not hang around as long and not as intense. If we were to view the enemy as humans (with lives, children, homes, concerns, dreams, hopes, values), it would be considerably harder to kill them and add to the statistics. In war, people turn into numbers and statistics. No one ever takes into effect that those numbers have valuable, humanistic importance. For example, take a look at the Holocaust numbers. The number of people killed in the concentration camps during World War II was around 6 million. When I first heard that number, I knew it was a large number, but it’s so large that I still cannot comprehend. I have a feeling that I will never be able to fully understand the true value of the number deaths that occurred. I was reading an article on how this teacher wanted to get her students to understand the value of human life that was destroyed. She had her students collect 1 million paper clips. That is only 1/6 of the number of people killed, but she wanted to stress to her students just how big this loss of human of life really was. It took the class the majority of the year, but they were able to collect 1 million paper clips. Unless you can get the actual number physically represented in your hands, you will never be able to comprehend and understand the statistics surrounding human death.
    Going along the lines of not understanding the statistics of war and destruction, the actual enemy is also not understood to be a real person. There is a quote in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers said by Faramir.

    “The enemy? His sense of duty was no less than yours, I deem. You wonder what his name is, where he comes from, and if he really was evil at heart. What lies or threats led him on this long march from home, and would he not rather have stayed there… in peace? War will make corpses of us all.”

    It almost makes me wonder why anybody would want to leave peace and march into battle and war? I know that many do it to protect the homeland, but to what extent does protection last and destruction begin? Why is it that it is the generals and the officers make all the decisions about going to war, but they don’t do the fighting? They get to sit at their comfortable home and watch as other men and women fight and die. That doesn’t make much sense. Because they don’t have to fight, do they disregard all human life. That stroke of their pen just killed many soldiers and civilians. Is that right?

  • Samantha B says:

    While I do agree that seeing the faces of the innocent people who are being hurt by our war in Iraq can have an impact on us to some degree, I don’t think that it would change everything all that much. Back in 2003, 65% polled by CNN believed that the war in Iraq was a good idea. Fast forward 5 years and the opposite is true: over 60% of those polled oppose the war. In the media every so often there are stories about innocent lives being lost or negatively affected by the war. But I don’t think that’s why so many US citizens now want the war to end. And even if it was, it may not make much of a difference anyway. It is ultimately up to our government and the military to decide what is going to happen over in Iraq, not us. And while this sounds extremely pessimistic, it is true.

    Government officials probably do not often watch the news, or read the newspaper, and base any decisions off of these terrible accounts of what is going on over in Iraq, or wherever it is we are fighting at the time. No, the decision to pull back our troops from Iraq is based on a more selfish reason; wanting our family members and friends back home where it is safer; this just so happens to make it possible that other innocent people actually living there can be safe too. I feel very sorry for everyone over in Iraq who are just trying to get by and are unnecessarily put in danger by this war, and stories like Dr. Abuelaish’s affect me a lot, because I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose someone I love that way. But the more selfish part of me wants this war to end because I don’t want my family members to be at risk while overseas fighting in this war.

    One major reason Obama was elected president over McCain, in my opinion, was because he promised to propose a plan to pull back our troops from the war in Iraq, whereas McCain planned to continue the war. And we as American citizens finally had our time to make our opinions known and do something about it. If so many of us oppose the war, we are going to elect the president who vows to provide a means that we approve of. But if it hadn’t been election season, would this have mattered? Americans have been opposing the war more and more throughout the last few years of Bush’s term, and it didn’t make much of a difference. All we could do is wait and bide our time until he was gone and when our voices would be heard.

  • Anonymous says:

    Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s unique position in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict gives him the power to help make a change through the remorse felt by his friends not only from Gaza, but in Israel as well. The tragedy brought upon him and his family is something of more value than war. It enables people to look deeper into the meaning of war and realize that innocent children and families are being torn apart. We are all connected in a sense that we are all human, and no matter what the circumstance, it is unjust for anyone to feel the kind of agony which most people can’t even imagine to feel what Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is currently going through. I think the fact that we are all human, that we are all related and connected somehow, plays a significant role in the importance of what happened to Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s family. It is absolutely heartbreaking to think that “a man who works for peace, who builds bridges between worlds” has to cope with the calamity of witnessing three of his daughters and one of his nieces be killed by Israeli bombs while praying bedside to his other critically injured daughter in the hospital. Considering his exceptional reputation on both sides of this controversy, I think it is correct in saying that he is the one man who now has the power to make a change as he has already impacted the lives of many. Regarding the disaster brought upon Dr. Abuelaish, people forget about the differences of Israelis and Palestinians, but look at this situation as one friend to another, regardless of the designated group you happen to belong to. There is nothing that justifies what happened, but I believe that everything happens for a reason. Therefore, this catastrophe will aid in this conflict somehow. We are all human, and that is what it comes down to. Additionally, if we could apply this to our everyday lives, the world would be a much better place. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. As children, we have all been taught to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see how they would feel, so why can’t we do that as adults with more insensitive issues? Everybody has some kind of pain they deal with, however, we often ignorantly disregard that pain and disregard that anyone else feels any kind of pain as well. This is the issue at hand, one person is always better than another or feels more pain than another, but in actuality, we are all human. We are all connected. Everybody would treat people with more respect you could see yourself in others, even if you “hate” them. After all, that is probably when it is most important and would make the biggest difference.

  • Michele Dougherty says:

    It is extremely depressing to watch the you tube videos of the violence occurring in Israel. I could not imagine losing an immediate family member, let alone three. Family is such an important part of my life. With my brother joining the United States Air Force five years ago, my parents as well as my whole family were very anxious because of it being at a time of war. He had to go over seas for four months on and four months off. He travelled to Kuwait and Kutar. Luckily, he was fixing planes and not in any battle zones. He is currently out of the Air Force and happily married. He did not have to deal with any post depression disorders or any other problems.
    The thing that strikes me the most about the war our country is currently in, is that we are in a war against violence and terrorism, however, in the process we are causing those problems to Iraqis. I don’t understand the concept of wars, and that may also have to do with the fact that I am a non-confrontational person and I strive for peace. Wars only result in deaths and sorrows, and this war specifically contradicts what we are fighting for.
    Whether it is the Israeli-Palestinian war or the United States-Iraq war, innocent people are dying and I feel like more people should think like the way you were saying, to put themselves in the other persons perspective. If the world wasn’t so ignorant and more people actually cared about people besides themselves, I feel as if we wouldn’t have as many wars or issues.
    We would treat people that we hate extremely different if we were to take a step in their shoes. Fighting is not the answer in ending our war on terrorism and it isn’t the answer to ending the Israel-Palestinian war, however, what is the answer? What can we do as countries to stop wars? Is there a such thing as a peaceful war?
    Wars not only cause deaths and grief, they also cause lasting effects on the families that lose a love one or even the soldier that shot that person. My family friend was in Kuwait, and had to kill many people and once he came he was very depressed and often saw things that weren’t there. He was once caught in the park rolling around in his camouflage as if he was at war. He attempted suicide and luckily he survived. But as a friend it was horrible to see this happen to such a good guy, who was trying to help our country.
    I hope that someday we can live in peace; however, that is a very far fetched idea. As for now, I can just pray that the United States will soon be out of the war.

  • Anonymous says:

    I’ll tell you what I don’t see when I look at Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish: I don’t see a Palestinian hell-bent on violence against Israelis, I don’t see an Arab terrorist upset about western globalization, and I don’t see a middle-eastern radical sworn on revenge for what happened to his family. I’ll tell you what I do see, I see a grieving human being. A man who’s family was swiftly stolen from him in a disastrous event. To lose three children, let alone one, in one fell swoop tragically proves how things can happen to the best of people and at the worst of times. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish was not a terrorist or a blood-thirsty radical ready to kill on command. He was a Palestinian doctor working with Israelis to help find peace in years of fighting and bloodshed. A man that has the foresight to realize that to progress will come from war, but instead from compromise. Yet he lost three daughters and a niece in the Israeli cause.
    I truly believe that such a horrific event happened to such a righteous man can change the face of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict altogether. Great public upset will rise from these actions and the Israeli government will have to answer. Could this even eventually lead to peace talks? No one knows for sure, but what a horrible circumstance for Dr. Abuelaish.
    This event puts a world of perspective for me on the war in Iraq. I realize that these catastrophes to innocent families happen all the time in our war against terrorism. Don’t get me wrong, every terrorist alive can burn in hell. But what I recognize is that Iraqi citizens get caught in the cross-fire all the time. People just like Dr. Abuelaish lose family members just the same. What we as a nation must do is look at the individual victims not as middle-easterners who have nothing in common, but as fellow human of planet earth. They eat, drink, sleep, and suffer a tragic event just the same as any American would. I know at least for me up until watching the video that accompanied the blog that most Muslims that hate Americans and that on the call of God they’ll turn to terrorism to prove it. But whether that is or isn’t true, what is true is that they live and suffer just as we do when bombs blow up on their houses.
    To think what a difference it would be if we could look at Iraqi’s not as enemies from the other side of the world and start looking at them knowing that they have families and jobs and hobbies just as we Americans do. We probably have a lot more in common with them than we think.

  • Anonymous says:

    Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s story is one of many. I find it truly unbearable that the one and only time I’ve heard of the Palestinian losses during the beating that Israel put civilians through is a story of a Palestinian man gracious and caring to the Israelis. Can American media not simply talk about the average Palestinian man? Must it relate to Israel in some way? Its sick how today’s media counts how many rockets are launched and how many Palestinians die, just so that the numbers seem equal. How many rockets kill, is my question. Old rockets, probably imported by Hamas from other Middle Eastern countries (all which have inferior technologies) cant do much damage as compared to the bombs dropped onto Gaza blindly. Lets be honest before we start criticizing that last sentence as well my fellow Americans. Israel is truly bombing blindly. As illustrated in Abulaish’s story, his family died because the Israelis targeted where they live. The likelihood that militants were actually there firing is incredibly miniscule. Let’s also not forget when Israel bombed a UN school. The UN gave Israel information about where there stuff is located, and the Israelis still managed to bomb the school, killing innocent children.
    I completely agree with Mulvey in the idea of paralleling the thought of analyzing the aspect of considering one’s own enemy as one’s own friend. As an American who has lived abroad however, I have always been forced to do such a thing. In the war against Iraq, one of my friends lost his Grandparents. In the war in Lebanon when Israel attempted to get rid of Hamas, I had friends stuck in the country, with bombs dropping in and around there homes.
    I can completely relate to the story of Abuelaish in more than the most obvious ways, and war is truly an unfortunate event. However, it is necessary in some ways. I feel the need to put emphasis on the word “some.” In the case of Israel and Gaza, I don’t feel it is necessary at all. Gaza, the victim has never put any serious threat upon the superpower that is Israel. Sure Hamas has been there, to stand up for the Palestinian people as they have no army, but the US sees them as a terrorist organization, so what good can they possible be doing for a country not even recognized by the United Nations.
    There are times where war is necessary however. In today’s day, with Obama threatening Pakistan with the thought of military force being put upon the country itself, it is anything but unnecessary to back down and let America do what it wants, where it wants. In this case, Pakistan has every right to start a war with the United States if they don’t respect the rights and demands of the Pakistani people, that of which is portrayed through its government to the International community. I at times, hope just to see what would happen if America were to wage war with a country like Pakistan. Being that it is Muslim, it is already viewed as a terrorist country, however Pakistan has one of the largest armies in the world, and they happen to be holders of nuclear weapons. Of course, this is a wish I would not want to really see through, but nevertheless, would like to see what happens hypothetically.

  • Tim L says:

    After reading the blog entry, “The grief of war comes full circle” I felt badly that I had not thought about this topic more often, the topic that so many people and so many families are directly affected by the cruelty and inhumanity of war. I hear about the war conflict going on in Gaza and the war in Iraq or the wars of the past and I feel badly for the people that are hurt or killed but when I see a specific example, it really emphasizes the point even further. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is not someone that I know personally, which makes it difficult for me to sympathize with his struggle. Only when I relate it to my own family do I begin to feel a portion of his pain. However, this is so selfish of me to do so because I should be able to see him as another person and stop looking at my own life and look at his. I should be able to feel some of his pain on the sole fact that he is feeling pain. The view of having to relate the situation to my own family is egocentric and is not the best way to look at a situation like this.
    However, maybe this is the root of problem that causes these situations. As Laurie Mulvey states in the blog, we need to be able to see ourselves in others. I think this makes sense because if we are able to do that and realize that we are all a part of humanity together, then we would not want to hurt someone else because we would feel their pain if we tried to do so. So maybe we do have an egocentric mindset, but instead of changing our society, we could use it to an advantage. If we see ourselves in someone else, we would not want to harm them because in a way we would be harming ourselves.
    It is not fair that a good man like Dr. zzeldin Abuelaish has to have his family taken from him. Maybe these situations can be prevented in the future if we can train ourselves to realize that there is more to this world than our own personal views and selves. We live in this world together as a people and by grasping that concept, maybe we can move toward more peaceful living where a doctor, trying to help people, does not have to have see his children killed before his own eyes. We can start to change how we live and treat each other. By doing this we can start to see the world from other people’s eyes. By doing this we can start to take away judgments and see how we live in a world together, not separate. It starts with us.

  • Anonymous says:

    Although it would be very touching to see the war through the eyes of the Iraqis, and recognizing the struggle on their side, it would not serve much purpose. As citizens, it does not necessarily matter what we think or if we sympathize for our opponent at war. The only thing that really matters in regards to this subject is what our government thinks, and that means what our commander and chief thinks. Now although it would be nice if our president was a humanitarian, it is not the case at all. This war with Iraq is about oil, plain and simple. America is very oil dependant, and until recently, we had a oil thirsty man in charge of our country. It’s not about revenge about 9/11 because if it was then we would be in war with Afghanistan, not Iraq. It would make no difference whether we could see the war from the eyes of the Iraqis. The Middle East, and specifically Iraq is going to remain a problem to our country until we can either develop an alternative to oil or find somewhere else to get our oil from. Americans have already expressed their disapproval in the war, and it was to no avail. It is all dependant on our leader, which until now was an unsympathetic George Bush. Now Barack Obama has taken over, and leaving Iraq is starting to seem like a much more realistic result. It is easy to blame Bush for everything, and most do. Americans don’t always take the time to realize that we are the ones who elected (and reelected) George Bush. So this is ultimately our fault.
    Believe it or not, some attempt has been made through the media to make us see through the eyes of Iraqi citizens. For example, the show Baghdad High was aired on HBO. This show handed cameras to four citizens of Baghdad- a Sunni, a Shiite, a Kurd, and a Christian- and then asked them to document their lives. Each of them filmed their senior years in high school. The show was surprising in many aspects. Despite all of the fighting and killing going on in the streets of Baghdad, the four kids led somewhat normal lives compared to ours. They passed their time by playing sports, studying, shooting the breeze, and listening to some of the same music we do (i.e. 2pac). Although their streets were in mayhem, they shared the same goal as we did as seniors in high school: getting into college. They rarely discussed politics and the American presence in their nation. They weren’t all depressed kids with no hope like I figured they would be before viewing the show. They were high-spirited adolescents somewhat similar to teens in the United States. Although I could identify with these guys after seeing the show, it didn’t change my stance on the war because I was already against it. All I could really do was vote for Barack and continue to hope that we can find a way to get out of their somewhat soon.

  • Anonymous says:

    After reading this article, and sitting in at least one of the classes of soc 119, I have now realized how structured my life is when I was younger. I never really thought about it until Sam said to ‘leave your mom or dads your grandparents or siblings beliefs inflicted on you at the door’. The truth is you are more likely to take up the viewpoints that your parents hold true for yourself without second guessing the other side or what you as a person really believe about a subject. Example: I grew up in a structured environment thinking that marriage should be between a man and a wife. I never thought to second guess this or find out what I truly believe as a person because this is what I was told all my life growing up from others around me. Even though now I still believe that marriage should be between man and wife, I can say why I feel this do to what I believe and not do to what others want me to believe. All this ties into what the article was saying about What ‘Bringing Everyone to the Table’ Really Means. Either because of race, religion and so on, all past presidents brought their own viewpoints to the White House believing that these ideas or way of life were what was best for the United States. In some cases the president’s own personal beliefs were why they were elected to become president but that does not mean that we should forget the other side to all the others in the country who so not agree with what someone thinks. I respect Barak Obama’s decision to have Rick Warren to deliver the opening prayer at the president’s presidential inauguration. What he is trying to show the country is that even though he, Obama, does not believe in many things that the minister does preach we should not be ignorant to the opinions and beliefs of others just because we don’t see ‘eye to eye’ in some instances. I for one was surprised when the article showed that 52 percent of California was pro same sex marriage. It would be dumb to have a president ignorant of that statistic. Everyone in race, religion, beliefs and so on should all have a spot at the table to voice his or her own opinion on what they feel is right. Truthfully, even though many believe it was a folly to appoint Warren into the inauguration, I feel that it was a strategic and effective way to give voice to the people in this country who may never had their views heard before. He earned a lot of respect from many.

  • Anonymous says:

    To think that some are suffering so much and all we find to say is that victims are normal in conflicts and necessary to move forward is getting old. The only reason why so many evaluate the situation in such a way is because they often know no one who is directly involved in the conflict. I used to think that victims were something that we cannot really focus on too much because there is no other way to solve problems, but these videos, which show us first hand experience of someone’s tragic loss put some things back into perspective.
    The Palestinians and the Israeli have been fighting for over 100 years, haven’t there been enough victims? Or yet again is it not time to change our conception on how to resolve conflicts? We say that history has never shown us anybody that has gone through a liberation or development without having ‘some’ sort of casualties but is it not time to take our own advice, and learn from history rather than exactly repeat what has already happened. The problem with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that the two sides are not trying to understand each other’s point of view. A friend of mine who lives in Kuwait told me the other day that at her high school, professors were not allowed to teach students about the holocaust. That fact alone can have huge impacts on the future of this conflict. How can the younger generations of the Middle East be prohibited by the government to learn anything about the history of their enemy, which, in turn might help their understanding of the “other side” and shed light on some of the more violent reactions that Israel might have taken. I am not justifying either side but that is an example of why there is a constant misunderstanding between both nations.
    I think we easily, in particular the younger generation, take a skeptic approach to any dispute, which doesn’t help solve anything. Many in this conflict decide to associate themselves 100% with one side of the argument or the other. Especially in Europe, people are rallying against Israel and the more extremist activists are burning down synagogues and carrying out hate crimes against members of the Jewish community. What else than perpetuate ignorance and suffering, do those actions do? I cannot understand how people can be so inconsiderate. Most of them do not even know what most of the conflict is about, people even in the Middle East do not get all the information, so how can they consider themselves knowledgeable enough to make an ‘informed’ decision about who is right or wrong. Furthermore when it comes to death, how is the life of a Palestinian more important than that of an Israeli and vice versa? How can these people that want justice be so disrespectful of the other side loss of life? Here again I am referring to those millions of outside actors demonstrating all over the world in violent manners. We have the luxury of having an outsider’s perspective, of being able to calm two irrational players and what do we do? we pick sides!

  • Anonymous says:

    I was recently watching The Patriot, you know, that wonderful movie with Mel Gibson about the American Revolution. As I was watching this very long movie I couldn’t help but notice how stupid their fighting style was. The Red Coats and the Americans would both stand in this huge, open field facing each other. The drums of war would be beating on both sides and men would be waving flags to help remind each other what they were fighting for. The rest of the men would be caring one shot bayonets and preparing themselves to take a life. The Patriot does a great job of depicting how much all these men want to shit there pants because they know someone on the other line is aiming a gun at them. I can only imagine what it would really be like to be in there position. To hear the drums stop and know its time to be a man and kill someone who is the same age as me. To kill someone who has a family that loves them and is waiting for them to return home. So many lives would have been saved had everyone just tucked their tails and run, but obviously that didn’t happen. They killed each other from long range by blowing huge holes in each other with their massive bayonet bullets. My thought is that maybe if we still fought this way, out in the open starring out opponent down and seeing all the fear and life in their face, wars would be fought a little less. In today’s world, you can kill someone from miles away, never seeing their face, never hearing their screams of pain. Today, killing has become so removed. The person who is pressing the button to drop the bomb from the plane above a family’s house will never know who they actually killed.
    I know its unrealistic to think that just because you are standing in front of someone and can see their face and all the fear in their eyes that killing would stop. As much as we all hate it, it’s a kill or be killed world when conflict arrives. However, the reality is that the people who actually suffer the most from the fighting are the innocents who get caught in the cross fire, like Doctor Abuelaish’s young daughters and niece who were tragically killed by a bomb. Why can’t we all just make love not war! The only pain in the world would be broken hearts, not lost limbs and dead bodies. I hope one day that conflict can be resolved in a peaceful way and we can make amends for all the lives that have been killed in the quest for power.
    Christine McMeekin

  • Anonymous says:

    Death is one of the most frightening ideas anyone can think of. For me myself, it is one of my greatest fears. Mainly, the fear of the unknown is what makes it so terrifying. Although yes I do believe my religion, and what they say happens to you after death; however, what about those people who don’t know what happens? To think that they must hold an idea with them that no one in the world can share from his or her personal experience. It’s petrifying, and even puts a pit in my own stomach. Any loss of a loved one is one of the most unbearable experiences you can encounter. Even the loss of a friend, or a friend of a friend, or just even someone that you know of can be a heart wrenching experience. Unfortunately, Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish had to feel the ultimate severity and impact of such an encounter. As a matter of fact, he had to experience multiple losses at once, a life-changing situation which many have never and may never fully encounter. Words cannot describe the pain and agony that he must be feeling. Watching the videos of his personal reaction sent chills up my spine, and to think, I would not even have known of him if it had not been for this journal. I do not know him personally, and yet I feel for him. Anyone who heard of or witnessed this incredibly heartbreaking story must have felt a similar reaction as well. It is disheartening to think however, that in reality many may not feel these emotions too. It is hard to think that there are those out there who do not care for or sympathize with someone in a situation such as this. I feel like unless it happens to oneself, no individual will choose to care as much, and that is the totally wrong mindset. This leads into the idea of war. War is a touchy subject, and feelings vary from person to person. It is incredibly unlikely for us to have a world where everyone shares the same beliefs. If it were that way, every Miss America’s dream of having world peace would come true, right? It’s hard to tell. However, that is not the reality. Many feel that because someone has a differing belief they deserve to be killed. For me myself, I cannot see how this is right. What is the use of killing innocent people? Hopefully one day we all can come to our senses and realize the value of human life. Killing not only affects the victim, but their friends and family, everyone who that person has touched and made an impact upon, and sometimes even just random people who care of feel for that person (along with many others I may not have mentioned). Random people just like me who cared for Dr. Abuelaish’s situation. All in all, it should not take this story about Dr. Abuelaish in order for people to feel moved, or to see that this is reality.