Grace and I lived during the massacre at the partition of India – a war based on religion – in August, 1947. Many witnessed it, deplored it, wrote about it and begged not to repeat it. The latest news in the Middle East is pathetic. I have read in Facebook, not only the feelings, but also justifications of the parties involved, including those from Canada, the US, and not excluding the Believers.
The following is neither pro-Jewish nor pro-Palestinian. There is no special quote from the Holy Books, nor from religious leaders, pundits or politicians, but from ordinary human beings, well aware of their limitations and touched by the feelings of our infirmities.
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Palestinian gynecologist. Three of his daughters and a niece were killed during the 2008-2009 attack on Gaza. It must be nothing less than the grace of Almighty God for him to dedicate his life to seek reconciliation between the Palestinians and the Israelis. In fact he wrote a book entitled “I Shall Not Hate”, which, by the way, is quoted by President Obama. What hinders him receiving the Nobel Prize?
It would be terribly incomplete if I did not mention another great but lesser known Canadian who helped to bring Dr. Abuelaish to Canada and land a job at the University of Toronto, Dr. Michael Dan, a neurosurgeon by profession. On a personal note, was I ever proud of them and also for the joy of working for U of T, since my immigration to Canada until my retirement. These are truly men of God, endowed by the Creator!
Finally, another gentleman I want to highlight is different. No, he is not a doctor or even an academic (I am not sure) but a restaurant owner. The Newspaper called him “Jewish Deli makes Lox not war”. This is what they say about this guy: “Zane Caplansky (the only Zane I heard was Zane Grey, Western Novelist, born in Zanesville, Ohio owner of Caplansky Deli) is acting as a sponsor to the Toronto Palestine Film Festival. He says he is stunned by disgusting Facebook comments over the violence in Gaza and wanted to make a statement that would help Palestinians and Jews understand that it is not black and white.”
These men, their words and deeds, and others like them touch a soft part in my heart. How can one remain unmoved but admire and write about them? These are not days to vent our justifications of war. A soft answer (still) turns away wrath, but a harsh word (still) stirs up anger, from anger to hate, war, suffering and even death.
When will they start beating their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks?
God bless, Danny Paul
ps. This is a true story. During the partition of India, a group of Hindu bakery workers, opposite to my Grace’s ancestral home in Calcutta, were stranded in the Islamic locality. Recognizing their lives were in danger, the Islamic workers made them to lie on the flat bed of the truck and loaded bread on top as covering and transported them out of the locality to safety. Yes, despite the horrible communal hatred and riots, there were men who put their own lives in danger to save those who were not one of them! Yes, there is light even in utter darkness. As William Cowper the Hymn writer wrote: “God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.”