Christmas & Holiday Season 2008: A Story of Reconciliation from the Holy Land
Let me tell you a true story for Christmas and the Holiday Season 2008 from the Holy Land:
On November 5th, 2005, in the Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin, 12-year-old Ahmed Khatib was severely injured in the head by an Israeli soldier and died shortly afterward in the hospital.
He had had a toy gun in his hand which the soldier has mistaken for a real gun.
His father Ismael, who himself had sat in Israeli prisons as a Palestinian activist, donated the organs of his son for children in Israel – the children of his enemies.
He says, "My human action irritated the Israelis. That is something much bigger than to kill a soldier".
Menuha now lives with the liver of the young Palestinian. She is the daughter of an Orthodox Jewish family who thanked father Ismael for his unique gesture of reconciliation.
The Israeli Druse girl Sameh lives with the heart of the killed boy, and also the Israeli Bedouin boy Mohammed lives, because Ahmed had to die.
The German documentary maker Marcus Vetter and the Israeli Leion Geller filmed this moving story and thereby recorded a convincing template in the media for a best practice for respect and reconciliation. The film “The Heart of Jenin” is a great deal more powerful and illuminative than the usual news clips in the evening news about Palestinians throwing rocks or shooting Israeli soldiers, and proves how "soft" human issues of tolerance and respect can open our hearts.
It shows humanity, greatness of thinking and that tolerance and respect can prevail – in the end.
In order to support mutual respect and reconciliation, the World Security Network Foundation is promoting universal Human Codes of Tolerance and Respect. Please visit our special website: www.codesoftolerance.com.
We picked the movie “The Heart of Jenin” as one of our best practices for media promoting a better world for our children.
The Human Codes of Tolerance and Respect project addresses the five affinity groups who have the most influence on promoting tolerance and respect towards other religions and ethnic minorities: families, educators, religious leaders, journalists and politicians.
We include 10 best practises for each of the groups from all over the world to show how each group can promote a tolerant world now.
For the World Security Network, tolerance and respect are the lifeblood of peaceful coexistence and crucial elements of the “soft powers” of peacemaking.
We need a global vision and a soul. We need globally respected moral values, and just as importantly, we need a steady promotion.
Unfortunately, today we leave the most important questions of peace, reconciliation, tolerance and respect to a loud but tiny minority of radicals, a majority of mediocre politicians, and mainly backward-looking academics.
Furthermore, we do not have an action plan like in business for their promotion.
Does this work? – No.
Will this work in the future? – Not at all!
Who can actually change the world and promote tolerance and respect effectively? Only you – the global elite of this world – can do it! - but we remain for the most part silent and passive, and we only observe the negative actions of radical minorities on TV.
- We own this world intellectually - We have influence - We have the power - We have a large pool of creativity and optimism.
But what do we do with all this?
I am calling for an elite which takes over the promotion of tolerance and respect as a common soul of our global village now, and does not just wait for politics.
I am calling to impeach the radicals by taking over as an elite the responsibility for a better world of moral values, especially for our children.
Please mail me your ideas and best practises to integrate into the Codes of Tolerance to [email protected].
The World Security Network team wishes you and your family:
for the Christians - Merry Christmas
for the Muslims (belatedly) - Eid Mubarak
for the Jews - Happy Chanukah
for the Hindus - a joyous Makara Sankaranti
and to all a peaceful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year of 2009!