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Unsung Hero: Playing for Peace

Joined: 1/9/2015
Posts: 1

Whether it be superman or your 11th grade English teacher, everyone has their own hero to whom they look up to. For me, a hero is someone who, despite their obstacles and hardships, continues to have hope. In places such as Israel and Palestine, where conflict has raged sporadically since the formation of the state of Israel in 1948, it is hard to stay optimistic. Yet though they may not be recognized, there are people who continue to fight for peace no matter the political turmoil.

When I visited the Middle East during the Summer of 2014, I had the privilege of meeting Nick, a resident of Jerusalem’s Old City and an advocate for peace amongst Israelis and Palestinians. At the beginning of the first intifada, he formed an Israeli-Palestinian soccer club where people of all ages could come together to learn about each other while playing soccer. The ongoing club promotes a mutual understanding and respect between Israelis and Palestinians. It is not a political movement, but merely an initiative where people from both sides of the barrier can play together. As Nick told me, “It’s enriching your soul by learning more about other people, about your neighbor. After all we are neighbors, like it or not, we have to be. We are destined to live together”.

During this summer of conflict, each incident I witnessed slowly depleted my dreams of peace. The protests I saw, the code red alert sirens wailing warning of incoming missiles, the stones thrown at Israeli infrastructures, right-wing extremist mobs attacking Palestinian-Israelis, the list was endless.It was not until I met Nick that I realized all hope was not lost. His passion and devotion in encouraging peace is a true inspiration. Yet he remains an amiable and humble man, who desires no recognition or praise. His caring attitude and dedication in doing something positive for the people is admirable. He showed me that although the road to peace is one filled with hurdles and barriers, it is one worth fighting for. What If Gandhi had relinquished in his fight for the independence of India? Or perhaps if Martin Luther King Jr. had given up in his fight to end segregation? It is the people that try to fix the problems that plague a society who produce change. Although we all know of the great achievements of people such as Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr., it is most often the regular, everyday people, or the unsung heroes, who inspire others to strive for improvement. These are the people we don’t read about in our history textbooks or learn about in school. It doesn't matter if they make even the smallest of impact, as Vincent Van Gogh stated, “Great things are done by a series of small things coming together”. Nick is my hero as he continues to have hope in forming the bridge to understanding and trust amongst Palestinians and Israelis.
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