Saturday, January 28, 2012

I Shall Not Hate

You may have heard of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. He's known around the world as the "Gaza doctor" and he's a tireless spokesperson for peace, coexistence, and forgiveness. Perhaps you're aware of the foundation he created to honor the lives of the three beautiful daughters (Bessan, Mayar, and Aya) and niece (Noor) he lost during the Gaza War: Daughters For Life, an organization whose ultimate goal "is the creation of a credible voice throughout the Middle East on societal issues that affect the lives of girls and women." No? Then introductions are required, and the perfect way to acquaint yourself with this great man is to read I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity. You'll read all about Abuelaish's life, from the impoverished early years he spent growing up in the Jabalia refugee camp in the war-torn Gaza Strip, to his achievement of becoming a doctor who sought to relieve the shame of women who were either infertile or who bore daughters rather than sons. But the single shining thread that runs throughout much of the darkness of Abuelaish's life story is the commitment he made as a young man to act as a bridge across the divide between Palestinians and Israelis. Abuelaish has always maintained that doctors can and should be ambassadors of peace, and during his practice in the Middle East he saw no distinction in the patients he treated, whether Israeli or Palestinian. That he has never wavered in his dedication to peace in spite of the tragic loss of his daughters and niece is a testament to the truth that revenge is a choice, and each of us has the power to choose not to hate. Do yourself a favor and read I Shall Not HateI promise you'll learn something.

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