This I Believe

Qais - Ann Arbor, Michigan
Entered on November 28, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: peace
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A good friend told me once that he was convinced that war was inevitable. However, I choose to believe in the inevitability of peace.

My friend made his comments while we were talking about the seemingly impassable problems between the Israelis and Palestinians. After all, the Bible describes confrontation after confrontation between Jews and Arabs. Reading this would seem to be proof of the thought that it will be impossible for the two sides to ever be at peace.

This concept falls apart when one considers that the Israelites were actually not always at war with their neighbors. Upon careful examination, there have been longer periods of peace, punctuated by wars.

‘But the two sides are so different, that they can’t help but fight each other’, one might counter. The reality is just the opposite – Jews and Arabs have more in common than perhaps any other races. There are foods, words, and values that are very much alike. The two cultures have obviously exchanged with one another during the periods of peace and perhaps even during the periods of war. Like a blender, wars sometimes violently mix the groups that are fighting and both sides are changed when peace inevitably rolls around – perhaps peace develops as a result of the blending.

My life is a mix of seemingly opposing loyalties. I am a Christian Arab American, born in the US to two Iraqi immigrants. Perhaps even stranger, I hail from the Wolverine state of Michgan, but work in the Buckeye state down south. Yet, in spite of my internal contradictions, I have found a way to make peace with these different parts of my self.

We all have differing facets to our existence that are often in direct opposition. If as individuals, it is possible for us to find a way for these contradictions to peacefully co-exist within the same person; we should have the ability to co-exist with one another in spite of our differences. I believe the survival of humanity in spite of our innate contradictions is further proof of our ability to find peace in seemingly impossible situations.

As we see horrific acts of violence, it can be easy to be swept up by gloom and doom. The invasion of Iraq tested me in many ways. I was torn between supporting my country of birth and accepting the humiliation of the land of my roots. As a Christian, I have been taught that violence begets violence, but I couldn’t help but hope the spread of Democracy in the Middle East might justify a war. With Iraq essentially in civil war, it is easy to despair about the future.

However, perhaps in recognizing the inevitability of peace, we can find salvation. Even in defeat, one learns to accept the admittedly unpleasant facts of their situation and thereby find peace. I am not an eternal optimist, but if you ask me, the War on Terror is sure to be followed by the Refuge of Peace.