YOUR HUMBLE NARRATOR went to a party to see an old friend this week, and I hope you don’t mind if I write about that instead of the usual humor column.
The gathering was to celebrate the work of a guy called Izzeldin Abuelaish, a doctor from the Middle East who has written a book. (Pix at the top show me chatting with him on stage on Wednesday evening.)
He was born to a Muslim family who had lived for generations in a farming place in Palestine.
But the family was dispossessed, their land taken over by a man called Ariel Sharon.
The family was sent to a refugee camp.
But they didn’t fight. They knew that someone had to break the cycle of hate, so they focused on the positive, working hard to get their children to school.
One of the kids, Izzeldin, worked really hard at school, and got himself all the way to university to become a doctor.
He was so talented in his field that he was offered a job in a hospital in Israel.
Despite this, he was tormented continuously by guards every time he had to cross the border from Gaza to Israel.
He decided to again break the cycle of hate, patiently enduring the humiliations, focusing on the opportunity to buy “luxuries” such as food and clothing to take back to Gaza for his children.
One day a tank rumbled down his street and fired missiles straight into his home.
They hit the girls’ bedroom.
Four young people died.
Izzeldin rushed into the room to find pieces of his children all over the room. One child in the room survived, but her eye was dangling on her cheek.
He called for help.
But ambulances were not allowed to approach, so he had to pick up the survivors and carry them across town.
“Now do you hate the Israelis?” his friends asked.
“No,” he replied. “Someone has to break the cycle of hate.”
Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of his book, I Shall Not Hate.