A Dream for the New Year, Part 4 OF 4
In this fourth and final post of this series, we hear from two of our regulars regarding their hopes and dreams of what should be if anything could be in this New Year. As we close this series, the thoughts shared by our bloggers require effort to take place. We are willing to engage in the effort necessary to change our present for a better future. We hope you will dream with us of what could be in your context, so we can all make changes for a better world together.
If I could change anything, dream anything for 2015, my dreams would be sweeping, and touch on so many big and small facets of our life that are awaiting renewal.
I imagine a Palestine without checkpoints and without walls. I dream of an Israel and Palestine where Palestinian husbands and wives can live in the same place without permits. I dream that there would be no color associated with IDs, and ultimately no need to carry an ID 24/7.
I dream that Palestine would have its own airport so we can travel without having to cross a bridge and a million checkpoints before arriving in a foreign country to fly out of!
I dream of walking down the streets of old Jerusalem and seeing an Orthodox Jew walking alongside a Muslim, both of them warmly greeting their Christian neighbor as they pass by. As I walk down these streets, I see no men carrying huge guns, or children wielding toy guns. I see Israeli Jewish children walking alongside Palestinian Muslim and Christian children on their way to school without a guard.
I dream of walking down the streets of Ramallah/Bethlehem/Jerusalem alone at night, taking in the flickering lights of the city, the silhouette of the buildings and topography of the land without getting hit on or hearing a car honking.
I dream that I would see parks in every Arab neighborhood, green spaces where mothers and fathers bring their children of all ages to mingle, where children have the chance to play, and where parents have a place for normal social interaction.
Finally, I dream for a restoration of the Christian community in Palestine. In 2015, I dream that the percent of Christian Palestinians has risen from the 2% of 2014 to 10% in 2015, like it was before 1948. I dream that those big deserted houses in Beit Jala and Ramallah would be full of life and breath, their crumbling stones renewed with the presence of the original homeowners who return from the corners of the earth where they have lived in exile for so many years.
I dream 2015 will be a year where human greed and racism diminish, making room for social justice to bloom and flourish.
My dream really goes well beyond 2015, but I hope it begins there and that 2015 can be the year that sets a new course for all of us and, especially, my son’s generation.
It seems but a distant dream, one that a few keep trying to grasp but is so elusive. The majority in our societies keeps pushing it further and further away from our children’s reach, carelessly ready to leave them bankrupt and with an even bleaker future than we have.
But I see this dream written on my son’s peaceful face as he sleeps or in the innocent joy of his smile and it gives me renewed hope that it is perhaps possible. And then I can’t help but dream and think about how I want this place to be for him:
A place in which he, and those of his generation, will not be taught to settle into the role of either the oppressed or the oppressor, but will be taught justice and mercy.
A place in which he and others his age can grow up with a true appreciation for each other and can see the positive contributions that each culture has made on the other, without letting go of their own culture and identity in the process.
A place that does not forget but also repents and forgives. Where he will learn of both the injustices committed against his own people and those his people committed against others, without shame and without whitewashing.
A place where sticking up for those who have no voice is not seen as weakness, and where standing up for your own rights is not seen as dangerous or threatening.
A place in which the mainstream does not tell him his identity as a man in this region is wrapped up mainly in proving himself through violence or militancy, or through objectifying and demeaning women.
A place in which, as we saw in the past year, he will not have to fear rockets raining down on him or, on the other hand, be protected at the expense of another child, but where he and a child in Gaza can eventually both be free to pursue their dreams in safety.
A place that will not bully him and others who go against the grain and work to build friendships, communities and a society that is mutually beneficial, and where they do not have to fear the burning of schools or being labeled a traitor just because they are willing to work towards this.
A place where he can live, love and laugh in freedom and do so alongside both Palestinian and Israeli children.
Finally, a place where a Palestinian mother, looking into the face of her smiling or sleeping child can have her hopes and dreams realized alongside my own.
Some would tell me I just need to go back to the US for such a possibility because it will never exist here, so why remain. But I can’t help hoping that these dreams could be realized in this most impossible of places, this place that has become a part of me, for better or for worse. This place where I plan to raise my children, all the while desiring and pursuing something for them that is yet unattainable.
Shouldn’t we all be desiring this, though? How can we look into our children’s eyes and yet forever work against it?
We can say that only God will do this for our children in some distant event but I also hope that in this next year more of us will realize our responsibility to do what we can to see this reality come just a little closer.
In the words of Jesus, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9). He didn’t say “blessed are the passively peaceful and nice people.” Making something requires acting, not just hoping it all comes together. So may we actively pursue peace in this next year, not just for ourselves but for the generation that is still too innocent to know the difference.
Thank you for listening to our dreams! Leave us a comment and let us know what you dream for 2015.