Monday, August 4, 2014

Power to the peaceful

Name five songs about peace. Come on, do it. Now!
It’s not that easy, right? I’d say there are a hundred times more songs about violence, money and the wide spectrum of silly human drama. Makes you wonder – what does that say about the world we live in?

War has returned to the Middle East and images of flying rockets and bleeding children are once again daily reality. We find ourselves in a rollercoaster ride between anger, frustration and deep sadness. So much suffering – for what?

Meanwhile, the global community is having a fierce discussion about who is right or wrong. In the media and during coffee breaks there's talk about death and destruction, about fear, revenge and the price of gas. We blame, hate and lose track of anything good. We are infected by darkness!

For me, even more outrageous than the war itself is the lack of action from the UN. Send 10.000 peace troops in, tell everyone to shut up and sort it out. But no, nothing. It’s a complicated situation they say. And indeed, it’s complicated, but not for those muppets in diplomatic suits – it’s complicated for the family who saw their house burn down or for the little boy who had his legs blown off. What more needs to happen before the world says ENOUGH?

Just the other day Obama condemned the repeated attacks on a school and then, in the same sentence, he went on to say that of course the US will refill the munition depots of the Israelis. I do you acutally respond to this? Shall we give him a second Nobel peace prize?

While trying to understand both perspectives, I’ve always sympathized more with the Palestinians. So perhaps life wanted to tell me something when I bumped into four Israelis last week...
I’ve spent a couple of days with them – they are really nice people, we shared food, made music and enjoyed the heat of the Andalusian summer. Good times. We also talked about the situation in their homeland but not once did we speak about the political nightmare. It wasn’t about who might be right or wrong, it was a purely human perspective with a very clear conclusion: war sucks!

With one of them I had a longer conversation about how she copes with it all. The time in the army; the constant fear of being called up; bomb alarms; dead friends; despair. At some point I asked her if she still believes in peace. She shook her head – and she’s only 24... We were both too sad to even cry. Just imagine what that must feel like if you’ve witnessed at such a young age already so much physical and mental war that you've given up on peace.

My new friend told me that her mother is from Iran and her father from Irak. She was born only a few years after those two countries had stopped fighting each other. So I said to her that maybe in 50 years it will also be normal for an Israeli and a Palestinian to marry and be happy together.
She smiled and called me a dreamer. I smiled back and said that it’s a nice dream.

Let’s travel 900 years into the past, to the time of the crusades: Imagine you would have told a Christian that in the future his descendants might marry a Muslim – your head would have been chopped off instantly! Yet today, when a Muslim marries a Christian in Italy, Spain or Germany, it’s usually no big deal. Who would have thought...

              Yes, there’s hope.
              Cause it will change.
              One day.

We need peace. And the only chance we have to create it is by focusing on it. I’m not suggesting to ignore wars and injustice, but simply to spend more time cultivating peaceful thoughts and feelings. Whether it makes me sound like a Hippie or not, I don’t care – eventually, love will spread.

You say you’re not fighting a war? Well, you might not be in Gaza, but if you look inside, is there real peace?
Here’s a little story my Israeli friend told me: An uncle of hers was listening to a discussion between an Arab and an Israeli. The Israeli asked the Arab, “will you ever accept Israel as part of the Middle East?” Her uncle interfered and spoke to the Jew: “You should ask this question to yourself: Will YOU ever accept Israel being part of the Middle East?” Pretty deep stuff, but the bottom line is: first, sort out your own shit!

Peace won’t come from different polititians, from more wars, new neighbours or different laws – peace can only come from within.

So, back to the music: here’s a mix I made with songs that talk about peace. Just click on the cover, start listening and dare to dream... And then send out some Peace & Love to my four friends who will be back in Israel in a few weeks, and to all the others who want to live a life without bombs. 'Cause everyone deserves peace!

(Image from Michael Franti & Spearhead)