In the face of global turmoil and divisions that have persisted for years, there's a a question that I would like you to ponder:
Are you your brother's keeper?
To this, my emphatic response would undoubtedly be "yes."
When I gaze into the eyes of those in Gaza, I see my brothers and sisters. Similarly, when I look into the faces of the Israeli people, I see the same. The current state of the world deeply unsettles me, often leaving me feeling queasy as I try to make sense of it. There were several days last week when I awoke in a state of anxiety, not for my immediate surroundings but for the people halfway across the world.
I recall my trip to Israel during my first summer in law school, where I spent 2.5 months traveling all over the country. I felt a deep connection to the land, not only because of its historical significance but also due to my personal background.
But despite my family being Jewish, I believe what is going on right now goes far beyond our individual affiliations. The long-standing struggles between 'us' and 'them,' the deep-rooted divisions that have persisted for years, are unfolding right before our eyes.
It's an unimaginable situation where there are no “winners,” only lost lives of innocent people.
My choice is clear: I embrace the role of being my brother's keeper.
Truthfully, I don't know what "side" is right or wrong. But I do know that lives are being lost. My choice will always be the one where this war ends.
The reality is that there is so much that we cannot control, such as the actions of leaders in foreign lands, but we do have control over the image we project into the world. We control how we show up and how we show up for those around us.
I choose to represent unity, interconnectedness, care, love, concern, fairness, and justice. I consciously choose not to fuel divisiveness, hate, or disconnection. My mission is to bring people together, to serve as a beacon of unity, drawing people closer to love and compassion, and encouraging genuine mutual understanding in moments of pain and joy.
So how can we, as individuals, actively strive for peace and be there for our coworkers, friends, and the world at large? Let's explore some practical tips.
1. Educate Ourselves: Understanding the historical and cultural context of conflicts is crucial. As individuals, we can educate ourselves on the complex issues at the heart of the disputes. Read books, articles, and watch documentaries to gain a deeper understanding.
2. Engage in Open Dialogues: Create spaces for open and respectful conversations with those who hold differing opinions. Engaging in constructive dialogues can lead to empathy and bridge gaps.
3. Advocate for Diplomacy: Encourage peaceful negotiations and diplomacy as the preferred means of resolving conflicts. Support organizations and initiatives dedicated to conflict resolution.
4. Promote Tolerance and Inclusivity: We can foster tolerance and inclusivity in our daily lives. Embrace diversity and stand against discrimination and prejudice.
5. Be a Source of Support: For coworkers, friends, or anyone who may be affected by conflicts, be a source of support. Lend an empathetic ear, offer help, and show kindness.
6. Volunteer and Donate: Find organizations working towards peace and provide financial or volunteer support. Every little bit can make a difference.
7. Be Mindful of Media Consumption: While staying informed is essential, be mindful of how much distressing news you consume. Taking breaks from negative media can help maintain your mental well-being.
8. Advocate for Change: Use your voice to advocate for change and justice. Participate in peaceful protests and support initiatives aimed at making the world a better place.
9. Foster Peace in Your Community: Create an environment of peace within your own community. Organize events that promote unity and dialogue.
10. Lead by Example: Embrace the role of being your brother's keeper by embodying compassion, unity, and empathy in your everyday actions. Be a role model for those around you.
In times of global strife, it is our duty to be our brother's keeper, to embrace compassion, and to foster unity. By taking these practical steps, we can inch closer to a world that values the dignity and worth of every human being and strives for peace instead of war.
Remember, change begins with each one of us, and collectively, we can make a meaningful impact on the world.