There is one activity each year that I truly look forward to more than any other at Musalaha, and that is my speaking tour with Shireen. The tour is an opportunity for us to share with thousands of people from local churches, schools, organisations and mosques in the UK about the power reconciliation has to bring peace to our communities. Shireen and I see each other at least once a month, but it’s always rushed and it’s always for the benefit of our ladies’ groups. As Shireen told many of the people who came out to hear about 2 Women, 2 Worlds, 1 Lord tour, “this is the most I get to see Hedva all year.”
Shireen and I are from opposite ends of the world. She lives in Bethlehem, I live in the Golan Heights. She is Palestinian and I am Jewish Israeli. Besides working full time and raising children in our communities, we have a wall that stands between her and I. Shireen can’t drive to my house. I’m not supposed to visit her home.
While we are in England, we are equals – neither of us dare to drive on the wrong side of the road. We are women in a man’s world. We are committed to each other and the betterment of each other’s community. We are, together, a minority seeking peace.
Shireen made a good point as we passed on our experiences and challenges, “I can forgive at home, by myself. If I want to forgive someone, it doesn’t need to involve anyone else, I can do it between God and myself. But if I want to reconcile, there needs to be two people. I need to discuss with you the offense and we need to see from each other’s perspectives. Reconciliation takes two.”
My perspective is, how long? How long will we spend our world’s resources (including money, time and children) on war? We spent 14.3 trillion dollars on war in the world (according to the UN report) in 2015 and only 1% of that amount on peace. How wasteful and destructive is that?
My last question is, who will go? Who will take the stand to be in a movement that demands peace? At Musalaha, we talk about how it takes just 5% of a population to spark a movement. It’s possible. We spoke about climate change 20 years before Gretta Thunberg started skipping classes on Fridays. Now all the world understands and at least agrees it’s a priority. It’s a movement. Who will be in the movement that will demand peace and reconciliation from our world? I will. Shireen will. Will you?
Musalaha Project Manager – Hedva Haymov