It took me years to be able to focus on loving people no matter what they did, or how I felt about them. But the pay-off was indescribable. Every time I found something I could love, I felt fear loosening it vice-like grip on me. I could function again. Look people in the eye. Have a conversation. Sleep. Eat. The world became a manageable place.
2014 marks the twentieth anniversary of the first IRA ceasefire which triggered the Northern-Ireland 'Peace Process'. This marked the end of a vicious thirty-year conflict known as 'The Troubles'; the ethno-nationalist conflict which set those who wanted to see Northern Ireland remain a part of the United Kingdom against those who wanted to see it integrated into a 'United Ireland'.
Eslam wrote back to my sister in tears. She saw that yes, Israelis are human too! That they are shown the same images as she is. That no one hates her for simply being a Palestinian. That there are people out there who really care for her and her safety. And most of all that there is a chance for peace. She was overwhelmed by all of our love for her. And I decided that this article would instead be dedicated to her. To her strength, and that of all those on BOTH "sides of the fence" who question what they are told, acknowledge that we are all in fact the same, and reach out to each other with hope for peace for ALL.