between hope and despair


I was fairly touched by this incidental two minute meeting with this young guy. He guards the university gate, is young, an Arab in the Jewish state, has to take care that terrorists will not enter and destroy the existing silence and balance. He has to check the boot of the car with which I wanted to enter the campus. Usually I do not have a permission to enter with the car, but I had a reason and therefore I was allowed for once. Anyway, according to the rules does he have to check every car which does not have an updated sticker of the university. "Do you really believe in that?", did he ask, not believing. "Yes", did I answer, "that is what I believe in". "It will not stop if we do not talk", he read loudly. "Does talking help?", did he ask almost rhetorically and added that that is what he tries to do with friends and his friends do not succeed in talking together even about relatively unimportant subjects. I agreed with him, that sometimes there are very difficult situations, but I said you have to believe in something and keep all the channels open. He clung to it and try to absorb it, against facts in reality. I said to him that one should look at processes in perspective of time and said to him that one should look 10, 15 years back and see how much has changed in those years. How many ways opened since then, how much developed and with how many countries we started talking, even though we thought before that that would be impossible. Also this idea he accepted willingly and he repeated the sentences that things look different when you look at them in time perspective. He mumbled it another time for himself, as if not to loose this way of looking at things and in order to give himself a bit of hope.
He almost did not look me in the eyes, disappointed and struck by life. Conducts discussions with his friends, wants that also they believe and who has the energy to believe in talks about peace if even on the personal level it is often so difficult.
I wanted to support him, help him, give him something that would change his difficult feeling. I took a bit of his sadness. I do not know if he felt that I was with him and for him. I was happy to share some real moments with him. Some intimate moments in which two souls meet each other, on a level on which one usually opens when you know each other well and trust each other. 
When I arrived at the university, I thought I was in a hurry. I thought to open the boot of the car, close it and continue driving. At the moment we entered into our conversation, I felt that something important happened and I succeeded to catch the moment, relax and be there for an instant to be with this young man, to set aside the world for a short while. I stood still, said what I said, listened to him, answered him, and was with him, aimed at our conversation, its content and the background of the content. These moments were meaningful for me. It coincided with a talk I had with my daughter some two hours before. If I do believe that we have to return the Golan. Yes, I do think so, but only in return of total peace with Syria. If I do believe in Assad, yes I do believe in Assad's honest intentions. My daughter does not believe in him, because of his relationships with the worst of evil in our environment and she is right. In spite of this, I want to believe that he is honest and at the end of our conversation, we agreed that talking does no harm.
I do not know and have no way to know with what our talk at the university gate connected. I do not know what the origin of the sadness was, the desperateness, his hesitation to hope or think optimistic. I do not know what he did with our talk, if he reflected on it, or if he took it with him or whether it touched something in him. I want to believe it did. But I do not know and some inner voice says to me that it was too little to deal with something very big and very discouraging.

Sonia, 27.4.2008






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