Wednesday, May 19, 2010


A philosophical solution to conflict
I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish once again on Monday, after having interviewed him for a story in the Fall semester. He came to speak in Ottawa's International Writers Festival about his book, I Shall Not Hate; A Gaza Doctor's Journey. 
The title already outlines his position on the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

17/05/10, Mayfair Theatre, Ottawa

Dr. Abuelaish was a practicing gynecologist in an Israeli hospital, while he was living in the Gaza Strip. He is currently teaching Global Health at the University of Toronto. He stresses health, education, and communication, as tools for peace.

This is the first time I have encountered an individual in a position of authority that reminded me of Hannah Arendt’s concept of Action from her book, The Human Condition.
Arendt says that action is only possible in the condition of human togetherness; when people are with others, and neither for or against each other. She also says that every action is a new beginning and is an ongoing process of unfolding. 

If I was to apply a philosophy to reality, then it works here: Dr. Abuelaish may not have immediate practical solutions a lot of people wish he did, but he has started a process of action through his deeds and, especially, through his words. He speaks of recognizing the humanity on each side of the conflict; recognizing that we are all equal and linked together. Abuelaish proves the possibility of human togetherness by bringing a crowd of people of different backgrounds sitting together in one room to hear his words, all for the same cause. A new beginning, and a process of unfolding.

For more about his story, see:

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