A packed house at the Brilliant Community Centre heard a stirring lecture from Izzeldin Abuelaish. The lecture was part of the Mir Centre for Peace lecture series and took place on Sept. 21 – the International Day of Peace.
Abuelaish, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, talked about his life growing up in Gaza and the development of his outlook on life and peace in Israel and Palestine. He talked about the devastation of losing three daughters, who were killed during the war.
He told about how his daughters were very smart and did very well in school but now they’re gone.
“I thought of my son, who is 12. What future awaits him,” Abuelaish said. “He lost him mother and now he’s lost him support. Will he adopt violence? He wasn’t born violent or a terrorist. We made our children violent.”
We must learn from our children, he said. “Like a bicycle, we must keep pedaling to keep moving.”
Rather than swearing revenge on the soldiers that murdered his children, Abuelaish instead turned to peace.
“You can do more with wisdom, kindness and good words,” he told the crowd. “That’s what will make the difference in this war. I shall not hate. We are blessed to be humans and we have choice. To choose between what is right and wrong, between love and hate. Hate is going to destroy the hater not the hated. It’s a poison that destroys from the inside.”
Abuelaish refused to allow hate to overcome him even when faced with such personal devastation.
“I lost my daughters,” he said. “I don’t want to be a victim more than once. I will stand up to them and say ‘you will never destroy me.'”