Praying for Peace in The Middle East

I invited two of my friends – Naru, an Israeli, and Nadia Khan, a Lebanese – to my small apartment last week. They work together and their children go to the same school. Naru and Nadia were holding hands and their children were playing and laughing together. We went to the market near my apartment and prayed for peace in the Middle East.

Both of my friends expressed to me how they felt that the war and terrorism in the Middle East region is not acceptable. They personally wanted to establish love and companionship with each other. They shared their feelings about how they love America and America’s freedom. They believe the United States can help bring peace to the Middle East and that the United States should look for ways to help encourage peace. As a Nepali victim of violence, I joined my hands with them and, together, we prayed for tolerance, peace and love.

Nadia told me a story. “My son was playing outside. He stopped all of a sudden and, shouting and shrieking, ran into my house. He looked frightened. Somehow, he knows that, at any time, something strange can happen. Although my son’s mind didn’t draw any definite conclusions, he understood some uncomfortable reality, which made him extremely scared.

“At that time, Hezbollah had attacked, firing a rocket nearby our house. My son asked me, ‘Mother, are they going to do something like they did a few days ago again?’ No sooner had my son expressed this than I felt as if I was falling and began to look for my ten-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter. My daughter hadn’t come back from school yet. A chill ran down my spine. A girl at the threshold of youth, she could be abducted and mistreated.”

Nadia, my Lebanese friend, also shared, “Kamala, I am full of love for my family. But I told my husband several times not to talk of violence, war and movements. Nice people never talk of such movements.

“My elder sister, while walking in the road, lost her life because of an Israeli rocket and became a martyr together with her father. All the days after that were almost vacant for me. From then on, my face became pale and I was disturbed by even small incidents. But there were other problems in front of me.

“On the one side, our family situation was insecure, as I had no sources of income; on the other hand, I had to live for the future, for my daughter and son. This thought, that I had to live, forced me to compromise with the situation.”

I found that they, together with their families, both continue to have ambitions, pleasurable dreams, and pain as well, to share with one another, due to their similar experiences and losses. They continued to smile and love each other fully. Their dreams are like the petals of flowers, growing and scattered sweetly amongst their imaginations of their happy and joyful lives now, together with their families. It was a wonderful moment.

And yet elsewhere, what a deplorable day! In my apartment, I sat down and switched on the radio. The news broadcast was talking about how the most serious problem in the Middle East today is terrorism and war, and how war and terrorism are increasing everyday. I watched as both of my friends’ children played attentively in my apartment, without concern for the situation, as they concentrated on their play.

I was overwhelmed with grief. All three of us were ready to promote peace and love. I know that, as women, we have this power.

Kamala is an editor for Her specialties are in-depth reporting and writing stories on peace and anti-war issues, women, terrorism, democracy and development. Some of her publications include: Women’s Empowerment in South Asia, Nepal; Prevention of Trafficking in Women Through Media; Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism. She has also written two collections of stories.