A Journalist’s Heartfelt Reflections on News

http://thenewrepublic.com/article/119222/journalist-kidnapped-syria-reacts-isiss-james-foley-beheading

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Middle East Monday II: Resist the urge to pick a side

Before you feel obliged to pick a side, consider that killing people is not okay, regardless of who is doing it. Get above the spin, and smartly believe for the strengths of each people to shine and for compassion, humility, and vision to let love lead.

My friend Ana wrote this as she gave the link to the article below:

It sounds a little hypocritical and ironic to say, “Don’t believe everything you read,” before posting something for you to read. But I find it disconcerting to see how many posts are going up in defense of one people group over another…about how one group is being underservedly tortured by the villain on the other side of the wall.

Rockets and murder and hate are not games. That’s for sure. But spreading fear and or hatred does not bring peace. The truth is, there are massive wrongs being committed on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. There are mourning mothers and ridged corpses of boys and girls whose futures were stolen from them. On both sides. And it’s been going on for years.

No story you hear from this conflict and current war will be unbiased. Whether it’s from a local Palestinian, Israeli, or foreigner (who might assure you of his/her keen insight into the matter). That’s not a bad thing, but it’s a fact we must grapple with as we sift through the emotional stories and news coming from this terrible, growing tragedy.

As one of those foreigners who, self-admittedly, has a bit of a chip on my shoulder about Middle Eastern topics and current events, I urge you to remember that where there is pain on one side of the wall, there is undoubtedly a well-matched grief on the other side.

Pray for peace. For Jerusalem. For Gaza. For mankind. We sure do need a fresh dose of it.

Here’s the article.

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Middle East Monday: The Kani Shaie Archaeological Project – Biblical Archaeology Society

One delicious summer, I was part of an archaeological dig at Bethsaida in Israel. It was fascinating. There is an incredible amount of effort, expertise, and care that goes into a dig. Here’s a wonderful window into a very relevant, groundbreaking dig:

The Kani Shaie Archaeological Project – Biblical Archaeology Society

Middle East Monday: How powerful is YOUR passport?

I lived in Israel and the Palestinian Territories for three years: 2006-2009. I knew there was a global inequity regarding the utility of certain passports. I knew mine was more of a door-opener than many. This reality was made painfully obvious by the restrictions placed upon the Palestinians I lived amongst. Most of them were unable to LEAVE the Palestinian Territories at all. They couldn’t go into Israel proper, they couldn’t get visas to other nations, and this greatly influenced their worldview, their concept of identity, and their sense of injustice.

Likewise, when I was in Baghdad in 2011, I talked with a number of people with a similar problem. However, for many of them, it was a matter of emigration. They wanted to leave Baghdad and they could not get a visa etc to do so. Thus, they were stuck in a war zone. That is absolutely awful. Can you imagine the sense of powerlessness, desperation, and hopelessness one might feel? Daily, friends and family are dying from acts of war and terrorism. You worry about your family, your kids’ safety, and your family’s income in the state of national instability. Not only that, you are exhausted from the daily journey of normal activities which could find you unwittingly at a bomb site, harmed or even dead. That is a very rough life.

Ironically, the following infographic doesn’t represent the Palestinian Territories! That is a further indicator of the lack of awareness about the issues therein.

So, wherever you are from, be thankful for the mobility you have – even if it is limited. Moreover, open your mind to have more compassion and understanding for those who are without some of the simple options you take for granted.

ALSO, what are you going to do with YOUR passport? It’s a key, you know. A key to new places, new spaces, new faces. It’s a courier train, taking your ideas from your norm to someone else’s norm. It’s a library that flies. It’s a thing of wonder, possibility, and beauty.

It’s a pass to other ports. Enjoy it. 🙂

 

Middle East Monday: When Loving Your Enemies is Loud

Home. Peace. Feeling nestled in.

These are common desires. However, there are areas of the world where this idea of “home” is less established than hearts would like it to be. One such place is the Palestinian territories. I lived in Israel and Palestine for three years. Stories and snapshots, longings and prayers, activism and belief build bridges from dreams to reality. Awareness is important.

With specific regard to the Tent of Nations, I’ve met some of this family. They are kind, just, and visionary. Their experience should be shared- in hopes that influencers will change the direction of their imminent loss. You can be part of the solution. Spread the word.

Tent of Nations on Upworthy