My youngest, always cutely wide-eyed, nine-year-old brother Yousef was given an assignment at school: To write about a personal experience that has taught him a positive virtue or moral value such as love, peace, helping others.
Whenever I made a suggestion, he replied, “I don’t have any thing to say on this.” He couldn’t think of any positive ideas even when I tried to give him lots of hints. His own thoughts were:
“Could I write about the last war and how I ran into the basement when the next building was blown off, and how we saw dead bodies, and how warplanes were bombing everywhere in the night but the resistance won at last?”
“Should I write that Papa died just after I was born because of the blockade, and then the first war started… then the second… then the third and there is no electricity and no water?”
I failed entirely to remember some tranquil memories that he or people in his very young age-group had lived throughout this madness. It’s a generation that has opened its eyes to a blockade, conflict and death, with absolutely no prospect of normality. I ended up that night feeling deeply helpless with a burning chest and an incurable wound. It reaffirmed my belief that violence will never solve our problems.