Thursday, 9 October 2014

Blogging Below the Line Day 3

Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish, Source: Photopin

Breakfast: Porridge (100g)
Lunch: N/A (I didn’t have time for lunch today).
Dinner: Pizza dough with quarter of a can of spaghetti.. One glass of budget cola (250ml).
Total Kj consumed: 2416kj
Total burnt off through exercise: 1202kj
Recommended minimum Kj intake: 4187kj
If every day was like today: I’d lose 10kg over 5 weeks. 

I think my body is starting to adapt to not having much to eat. I have to say though that I was really tempted by the free jelly beans I was given at the video store. I have found though that is a lot harder to concentrate for long periods of time.

Reflection – I Shall Not Hate
Matthew 5:43-48 Love Your Enemies
 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

These words are no less challenging today than they were two thousand years ago when Jesus preached them. But back then the Jews were residing under Roman occupation and they hated the Romans. As far as they were concerned the land belonged to them and the Romans had to leave – and some (the Zealots) weren’t opposed to using violence to achieve this goal. But Jesus turns this around and tells them that they are actually to love the Romans. But I think that Jesus understood that violence and hatred just perpetuate more violence and hatred.

Now I have a hard enough time consistently loving those who annoy me, let alone those who are trying to kill me.[1] And that’s why when I read Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish’s simultaneously heart-breaking and inspiring autobiography I Shall Not Hate I found myself extremely challenged. The book takes you from his childhood growing up in the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza, through his struggle to get an education in refugee schools, through to the climax of the book: his experience during the 2008-2009 Gaza War. Abuelaish recounts in horrific detail what it was like to live under siege trapped in his house, including the experience of his whole family sleeping in one room with the kids spread out across different walls so that if a shell hit their wall not all of them would be killed.[2] But nothing prepares you for the horrific description he gives of the fateful day on 12th December when his house was targeted by tanks (a warning that his description is pretty graphic):  

“There was a monstrous explosion that seemed to be all around us, and a thundering, fulminating sound that penetrated my body as though it were coming from within me. I remember the sound. I remember the blinding flash. Suddenly it was pitch-dark, there was dust everywhere, something was sucking the air out of me, I was suffocating. Abdullah was still on my shoulders, Raffah came running screaming from the kitchen, Mohammed stood frozen at the front door. As the dust began to settle, I realized the explosion had come from my daughters’ bedroom. I put Abdullah down, and Bessan ran ahead of me from the kitchen—we wound up at the bedroom door at the same time. The sight in front of me was something I hope no other person ever has to witness.

 Bedroom furniture, school books, dolls, running shoes and pieces of wood were splintered in a heap, along with the body parts of my daughters and my niece. Shatha was the only one standing. Her eye was on her cheek, her body covered in bloody puncture wounds, her finger hanging by a thread of skin. I found Mayar’s body on the ground; she’d been decapitated. There was brain material on the ceiling, little girls’ hands and feet on the floor as if dropped there by someone who left too quickly. Blood spattered the entire room, and arms in familiar sweaters and legs in pants that belonged to my children leaned at crazed angles where they had blown off the torsos of my beloved daughters and niece. I ran to the front door for help but realized I couldn’t go outside because there were soldiers on the street. A second rocket smashed into the room while I was at the door. To this day I am not absolutely certain about who was killed when.
I couldn’t find Bessan (aged 21) and kept calling her name: “Bessen, Bessan, where are you? Tell me where you are so I can help you.” But she was now dead, along with Mayar (aged 15). So was Aya (aged 14) and so was Noor (niece, aged 17).”[3] [Ages added]

Now if there’s someone who deserves to be able to hate someone it’s Abuelaish. One cannot fathom the grief he must have felt, especially so soon after losing his wife to illness. But this is where the real lesson of his life comes in: He chose not to hate the people who took his daughters’ lives.

Reflecting on the incident he writes:

“My three precious daughters and my niece are dead. Revenge, a disorder that is endemic in the Middle East, won’t get them back for me. It is important to feel anger in the wake of events like this; anger that signals that you do not accept what has happened, that spurs you to make a difference. But you have to choose not to spiral into hate. All the desire for revenge and hatred does is drive away wisdom, increase sorrow, and prolong strife. The potential good that could come out of this soul-searing bad is that together we might bridge the fractious divide that has kept us apart for six decades.”[4]

And this, I think, is what it means to love your enemies. 

If you would like to donate to my campaign you can do so here:

[1] I’m sure there are a few out there who want to do this.
[2] Izzeldin Abuelaish, I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey On the Road to Peace and Human Dignity, u.s. ed. (New York, NY: Walker & Co., 2011), xv.
[3] Izzeldin Abuelaish, I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey On the Road to Peace and Human Dignity, u.s. ed. (New York, NY: Walker & Co., 2011), 176-177.

[4] Izzeldin Abuelaish, I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey On the Road to Peace and Human Dignity, u.s. ed. (New York, NY: Walker & Co., 2011), 196.

No comments:

Post a Comment