Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Peace happens when people...
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Peace happens when people listen

Emmy Lou Cholak - January 25th, 2007
The goal of compassionate listening is to listen, give positive feedback, and allow someone to feel heard. If you feel heard, then you are more likely and willing to hear from another. Through this process, we learn respect for each other’s story and can help each other mend and heal. That leaves space for gradual acceptance of differences and the possibility of change.
In November, I went to Israel and Palestine with the “Compassionate Listening Project” (www.compassionatelistening.org). Through this project, we spoke to many people about their feelings about the Israel/ Palestine conflict.
There were 22 of us in the group plus two co-leaders: Leah Green, an American Jew, and Maha El-Taji, a Muslim Palestinian. We met Israelis and Jewish, Muslim and Palestinian political leaders. We met Palestinian Muslims, Christians, Hamas leaders, refugee camp leaders, and people on the street everywhere. Through them we heard of the many sorrows and pain of the rift in the Middle East and how it has hurt everyone.
Here are a couple of stories:
Hagit Ra’anan, an Israeli Jew, lost her husband and then her pregnancy in the first war with Lebanon. She felt that was a message to her. She has devoted her time since, working for peace.
During the recent war with Hezbollah, she traveled every day from Jerusalem to bomb shelters in the north, in spite of bombs falling around her, bringing hope and peace and caring for children. She taught them, and us, how to make paper peace cranes.
She believes that if we can heal ourselves and individuals around us, there is a chance for healing between nations. She says, “I don’t think of myself as a ‘peacemaker.’ I don’t think you can ‘make’ peace. It’s already here. I just need to be that peace.”
Ibrahim Issa, a Palestinian Muslim, is director of The Hope Flowers al-Amal School in Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestine. The mission of the school is to teach the importance of coexistence and democracy, along with Arabic, Hebrew, and English.
The PLO blew up the school in 1992. Issa rebuilt it. Since the 2000 Intifada, no Israelis are allowed to attend the school.
In 2002, Israeli forces arrested Issa and accused him of giving refuge to a terrorist. Issa pleaded his innocence. He was tortured five days, and then released with an apology for the partial demolition of his home. Friends encouraged him to seek retribution. Issa said, “I need to practice forgiveness.”
In 2004, Israeli soldiers asked him, “Why do you do peace education?” Issa replied, “There is no other choice.”
We must all work for peace.
We were impressed with the intensity of so many individuals and organizations working for peace. No one wants war. Israel‘s new seperatation wall was seen as only temporary and no one really wants it. Pain is everywhere, in need of being healed.
Our listening helped and our mandate is to bring what we have learned home. All 22 of us feel the need to tell about our trip, so others can feel the pain and help work towards peace. You cannot obtain peace if you favor one side over the other. You are not open to healing all sides if you feel your favorite cause committed no wrongs. We learned to “hold” the pain of each side, and thus try to move towards peace.
Please come to hear about the program and the trip. “Pain in the Land of Love- a Talk for Peace in the Middle East” offers three presentations:
• Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Congregation (UU), 6726 Center Rd., Mission Peninsula, Traverse City;
• Monday Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. at Traverse Area District Library;
• Friday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m., again at the UU.
At each there will be a talk and slide show about my trip to Israel and Palestine.
 
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