I Shall Not Hate

I Shall Not Hate – Epilogue

My hope for this book is that it has embraced and embodied the Palestinian people, and the tragedies we have faced, and has revealed the determination of the Palestinian people to face life’s challenges and to be strengthened – not weakened – by them.

This book is also about freedom. We must all work toward freedom from disease, poverty, ignorance, oppression, and hatred. In one horrifying year, my family and I faced tragedies that mountains cannot bear. But as a Muslim with deep faith, I fully believe that what is from God is for good and what is bad is man-made and can be prevented and changed.

The first blow was the loss of my dear wife, Nadia, on September 16, 2008. The blow that does not kill will strengthen you. My children and I survived Nadia’s death, becoming stronger through our need to take on additional responsibilities and to help each other survive our individual suffering.

Then in January 2009, I lost three precious daughters and a niece when an Israeli tank shelled my house in Gaza. When it is your children who have become “collateral damage” in a seemingly endless conflict, when you have their bodies literally torn apart and beheaded, their young lives obliterated, how do you not hate? How do you avoid rage? I vowed not to hate and avoided rage because of my strong faith as a Muslim. The Quran taught me that we must endure suffering patiently and forgive those who create the man-made injustices that cause human suffering. This does not mean that we do not act to correct those injustices.

Our great philanthropists and leaders may live to see their names written on monuments in stone or metal. But our children and the poor only write their names in the sand, and only survivors witness those names written in stone on their graves. I want to tell what happened to my family in order to pay tribute to all innocent people who have died due to conflicts throughout the world. Through my foundation, Daughters for Life, I hope my daughters’ names will be remembered and written in stone and metal on schools, colleges, and institutions that support the education of girls. I want this book to inspire people who have lost sight of hope to take positive action to regain that hope and to have the courage to endure that sometimes long and painful journey to peace and a peaceful life. I learned from the Quran that the whole world is one human family. We were created from a man and woman and made into nations and tribes so that we may know one another and appreciate the diversity that enriches our lives. This world must embrace much more justice and honesty in order to make this a better place for all people. I hope my story will help open your mind, your heart, and your eyes to the human condition in Gaza and help you avoid making sweeping generalizations and false judgments. I hope to inspire people in this world, afflicted with violence, to work hard at saving human lives from destructive hostilities. It’s time for politicians to take positive actions to build, not destroy. Leaders cannot be leaders if they are not risk takers; the risk they must take is not sending in soldiers, but finding the moral courage to do the right thing to improve the world’s human face in spite of criticism from haters.

Petikan tulisan Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish, I Shall Not Hate, A Gaza’s Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity, New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012.

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