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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Can Journey Be a Pressure for Peace? This Tour Chief Thinks So.

I used to dwell in Washington, D.C., which is a really segregated metropolis, particularly on a category stage, and I noticed that my pals and I wouldn’t enterprise out of the neighborhoods we already knew. So we began to develop a tour of town, and we obtained a Republican and a Democrat to colead it. That first journey was unbelievable. Watching the information, you’d suppose that in case you put a Republican and a Democrat collectively, they’d simply discuss previous one another. However that wasn’t the case in any respect. One of the attention-grabbing conversations we had was on a go to to the Heritage Basis, which may be very conservative. A number of the liberal individuals within the tour group had by no means had this type of open dialog with a conservative that wasn’t simply sound bites, however an actual, productive dialog. By the top of it, the dialogue was about “What’s the answer?” relatively than “You’re doing this unsuitable or that unsuitable.” It was fascinating. And that’s what occurs on our excursions in Israel and Palestine. That’s what occurs in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.

I grew up in Jerusalem, however I by no means had an actual dialog with a Jewish-Israeli individual till I used to be 18 years outdated. My brother was killed by being crushed up in jail by Israeli troopers, so I grew up very offended, very a lot with the concept that the opposite is evil. After which after I was 18, I made a decision to review Hebrew as a result of I needed to — not as a result of I wished to. Residing in Jerusalem, you possibly can’t survive with out Hebrew. I bear in mind strolling into the category considering, “None of those individuals in all probability need me to be right here.” And I couldn’t have been extra unsuitable. My Hebrew trainer was essentially the most unbelievable human being. She even tried to talk Arabic to me to make me really feel welcome. And that was the primary time I felt like I used to be handled like a human being by the opposite.

However earlier than that second, I solely knew one narrative of Israel, and lots of Israelis in all probability solely know one narrative of Palestinians: the one they hear within the information.

I believe it may be a lot simpler to be open to studying about points or issues which might be taking place 5 – 6 thousand miles away. Typically after I discuss my work with Syrian refugees, individuals will say, “Oh, I wish to go and volunteer with Syrian refugees in Jordan or Turkey.” And I ask them, “Have you ever volunteered with Syrian refugees in your individual neighborhood? As a result of if not, it’s best to begin there, after which possibly go to Syria.”

We have a tendency to consider journey by way of distance, however I believe journey is known as a life-style, a frame of mind. And in case you study to journey in your individual neighborhood, you’ll study to journey if you go overseas. For me, the toughest journey I ever took was going from my dwelling in East Jerusalem to West Jerusalem. It’s only a 15- or 20-minute stroll, however making that journey introduced in regards to the largest change for me, as a result of it challenged me essentially the most.

There’s an assumption that when individuals journey, they’re not fascinated about studying. And that’s not true. Even surveys inform us it’s not true. Folks need to do good as they journey, and they’re in search of tradition and connection. I’ve enjoyable in my travels: I’m going see museums, I swim within the ocean, I take pleasure in music, all of that. However that’s not all that I do. I wish to say that journey is an act of diplomacy: Be a diplomat as you’re touring and exit and meet somebody new and listen to their tales. And it’s a lot enjoyable! It’s the factor that you’ll bear in mind, and that you simply’ll inform individuals about if you come again.

Paige McClanahan is the host of The Higher Journey Podcast.

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